I resumed dawn patrols on the Downs this morning, as I figured the migrant birds might be arriving. I heard greenfinch, and goldfinch, and robin and blackbird and wren.... and then a chiffchaff. The first I've heard this year. Very cheerful-making.
So I stalked it for ages and got this picture, which is a bit dull. In part because it was a pretty dull sort of morning.
The sun came out this afternoon and I took a bike ride across the Downs again, and tried to get a brighter picture of the chiffchaff; but it was being much more evasive, perhaps because there were so many more people around.
So I went to the side of the gorge and got there just in time to see a peregrine falcon fly past. I watched it for ages, swooping and lofting up and down the gorge. It managed to get through a pretty large volume of sky. A couple of herring gulls attacked it, and it went into a shallow dive and whizzed out of range. Sometimes it would disappear behind a promontory, but if I kept on looking it would reappear; the distant silhouette just distinctive enough for it not to be mistaken for the pigeons, jackdaws and gulls that were up and about this bright and blowy afternoon.
I wouldn't like you to think I'm a twitcher, or anything like that; I just don't ignore birds when they come into my view. And sometimes I sort of head off with the hope of seeing something. And sometimes I just happen to be carrying a camera with a blooming great lens stuck on the front. You know how it is.