A Blissful Encounter with a Buzzard & Nature
Have you seen a Buzzard before?
Sitting in my garden, I reflect on the recent experience that has profoundly touched my soul. As I traverse the familiar path through the wheat fields, my attention is inevitably drawn to the avian wonders around me. The sun bathes me in its warmth, a welcome relief after the night’s heavy rain. My feet gingerly tread upon the soft, damp path, avoiding burdock patches. I cherish the path’s generous width, ensuring my shorts stay dry. Above, the clouds form a stunning mosaic of cottony shapes and vibrant colors, reminiscent of a child’s first painting.
Approaching the hill’s summit, I encounter a crow, effortlessly hovering with outstretched wings, aiming to land on the telegraph wires. To my left, a pigeon gracefully rises and falls, displaying a joyous acrobatic performance. Observing this, I ponder if pigeons truly comprehend the simple bliss of life.
Today, my walk isn’t about listing the things I’m grateful for; it’s a celebration of breaking free from my routine while knowing I’ll return to it tomorrow without a trace of laziness.
Reaching a junction, I descend the hill, mindful of my impending return to work. My loyal companions, Scruffy and Bruno, eagerly await my decision. Scruffy prefers the longer walk, while Bruno, with his shorter legs, must exert twice the effort to keep up.
Descending further, I spot a bird gliding along the hedgerow at the hill’s base. Through my binoculars, I identify it as a pigeon, albeit smaller than expected. Another avian presence emerges, a large herring gull. Then, beyond the hedgerow, the unmistakable silhouette appears.
I’d hoped for this encounter as buzzards had been absent from my skies recently. This male buzzard, smaller than the females, skillfully hunts with the wind’s assistance. Its wings remain steady and partially folded, utilizing primary feathers to maintain stability. It adjusts them as needed, while its unwavering gaze fixates on the ground below. The wings reveal a stunning display of browns, tans, duns, and hints of grey, contrasting with their rugged condition, hinting at the onset of autumn. Buzzards hunt small rodents, birds, or even small rabbits. Their larger mates can tackle larger prey, being about 20% bigger.
Navigating the hedgerow skyline, the buzzard is drawn to meadow-like margins filled with clover, dandelions, scarlet pimpernel, cow parsley, hogweed, marestail, and thistle – a haven for small creatures.
The buzzard hovers, skillfully using the wind to maintain its position, occasionally dipping and rising, securing its prey.
A call from another buzzard on the opposite side of the field reveals their nearby nest. The youngster, with its exceptional eyesight, must have witnessed the catch from a distance.
To the right, a smaller bird with pointed wings comes into view – a master of hovering. Formerly known as the windhover, it’s now frequently called a Kestrel. Despite the buzzard’s attempts, this bird excels at hovering.
In an instant, the skies are empty, leaving me awestruck by the unique spectacle I’ve just witnessed. Despite walking this path daily for a quarter of a century, today’s encounter stands out as exceptional.
Sitting on my pergola, I’m filled with gratitude, humility, and a profound sense of connection to nature. I tingle with awe, privilege, and honor.
Today, I celebrate.
Today, I am alive.
Simon Pollard. Garden Designer. Countryman.