Useful to mark the great passage of pipits across the Southern Uplands at the moment; a movement made more noticeably by the accompanying entourage of predators drawn together by this anonymous flux of protein.
Staying in Portpatrick last night, I woke up this morning to see a hen harrier flying along the crisply shattered cliffs above swirling shoals of little birds, framed against the distant line of Belfast and the shore of Northern Ireland. On a trip down to the Mull of Galloway after breakfast, I saw four or five sparrowhawks dipping over the hedges and skimming through the stubbles, and every power line played host to a line of little clothes pegs – linnets and goldfinches sparkled over the thistles, but in the main these small birds were pipits, subtly swirling their way South. Two young merlins were hunting along the road to the lighthouse of the Mull, pausing for a second on the stob tops before tangling up together and falling off the cliffs, surrounded by the mass of prey all around them.
Heading homewards, the creeks and gullies of Wigtown Bay were filling up with oystercatchers and herds of curlew, and the first wigeon guddled on the merse, many still in eclipse plumage with feathers as red as the moor grass above them.