Crow vs Buzzard

“Meeagh” “Meeeeagh”

Higher pitched than I expected a buzzard cry to be; three of them wheeling over the fields high up – 150 feet perhaps.

I stand and watch, trying to remember the shapes of their bodies as they move, knowing a photograph will show just a speck or two at this distance.

Starting to draw them I realise the proportions; wing span needs to be larger, tails broader, head smaller in comparison.

Three circling in and out of each others flight paths, calling, then a cry from farther away in response.

Putting pencils away I start to walk again then notice them plummeting, holding their wings in to make themselves smaller. Like rocks falling then opening out again into a soft looping glide. Is one the adult and the other two its young, am I witnessing flight school?

With bodies so magnificently designed they would need to practice. These hunting shapes made when their senses are keenest, hungry for prey and needing to conserve their energy.

Off to the left I notice a fourth bird hovering high above the trees, seeming to hold itself still. A different, smaller bird is flying around it, trying to get close as the buzzard holds steady. A crow by its shape and voice, calling harshly, confrontational. The buzzard loses its position, crow coming in and out of its path in messy circles, cawing. The buzzard is repelled, twice the size or more but unable to manoeuvre quickly enough. Its power in size diminished by the crows aggression and agility. This dance continues for seconds before the buzzard gives in, wheeling away and downwards out of sight.

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After 20+ years in Brighton I’m enjoying a recent move to West Sussex. Happiest when outdoors; cycling walking sketching and being in the moment

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