Had a wonderful day in the Chilterns today, attempting to see red kites. (Do have a look at the photos in that website - and go and see a real one if you can as they're a hundred times more impressive in the wild). And goodness me what a lot of them we saw - and what a truly wonderful sight too. We thought we glimpsed one on the way up - it's that essential flap-flap-flap and then sooooarrrr with only the odd tweak of the V-shaped tail to keep it on course. And a pretty large bird too, so you can't really mistake it for anything else. But when we got to Ibstone and the hills beyond it, we couldn't move for spotting ten, maybe a dozen, at a time, wherever we went. Amazing. Absolutely the highlight of my whole holiday. Not sure it gets any better than that. They sound impressive too - a wonderful mewling noise which carries for a long, long way. You tend to hear them before you see them.
We also walked round a lake further south, in Little Marlow - again, well worth a visit. Zillions of lapwing, two very active kingfishers, plus what we're absolutely sure was a ruddy shelduck (yes, that is what it's called ...), though they're extremely rare in this country. There wasn't anything else in the bird book which looked like that, and another bird couple agreed with us. Must be an escapee from a private collection - it's the most logical explanation.
Had lunch at Little Marlow garden centre - which must surely have the most dour serving staff in the entire universe. Also some of the slowest. Is it something they put in the water? Nice loos though, and Lord H nearly bought a book on tanks but I distracted him at the last minute. Ah, cruel wife ...
And on the way home, we managed to not run over three or four partridges, so that's another tick to the new birds spotted list and a few less dinners for deserving friends. Ah well. Don't tell the RSPB I said that though.
Back home, I'm planning a night in front of the telly, watching Billie Piper in whatever it is she's in. I do so love our Billie. Oh, and UK Hosts appear to be making some moves towards transferring my website by at least asking where it's going to. Progress possibly??
And this week's haiku (in honour of these treading-water days) is:
Like guilt, days linger
between Christmas and New Year.
Hunker down and wait.
Today's nice things:
1. The red kites
2. Ruddy shelducks and partridges
3. Watching our Billie on TV.
Anne's disappearing website