A skylark on the Chayne

Skylarks have become an enormous part of life on the Chayne. Along with meadow pipits, they fill the grass with rustling enthusiasm, bursting out from the heather to hang overhead like tiny fat kestrels, singing as if their lives depended upon it.

I include this post at this point because I was thrilled to finally take my first photograph of a skylark yesterday morning. I usually line up the shot, take the picture and then only realise in retrospect that it was actually a meadow pipit. Skylarks and pipits are extremely similar, although the larks have a tell-tale crest which is usually raised at this time of year.

If you had asked me a year ago to tell you the difference between the two, I wouldn’t have been able to. I’d have probably made something up and tried to bluff an answer, but I wouldn’t have had the first idea. It is one of the fantastic things about keepering that you simply have  to be able to identify every bird, mammal and plant species on your moor. No matter what it is, it all fits into an enormous ecosystem along with grouse, snipe and woodcock.

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