This morning I took Honey for a walk along part of the coastal path nearest my home. The main reason was to catch a glimpse of the Barn Owl hunting in the fields that have been left to grow wild. She is nesting in one of the dilapidated outbuildings on the retired farmer's land. I saw her last week. It was miraculous. A flash of white in my peripheral vision made me stop and look to my left. And there she was. My first thought was that it was a seagull, but I instantly knew that was wrong. Up she rose from the fields rippling with tall grasses and thistles, clutching a mouse or a shrew in her talons. She glided towards the tumbledown out house, and in through a small gap. I waited with baited breath, hardly believing my luck. Of all the things to see on an otherwise humdrum day. I watched her for about half an hour hunting in the field. The way she flew, then twisted and took the dive towards her prey. It was emotional in that way that watching something so utterly natural, and yet completely beguiling is.
I didn't see her today of course, but I know that she is being monitored and watched. Protected by a band of brothers who make sure that she is safe, and that her chicks don't come to any harm. An army of like minded people armed with binoculars, and filled with the same awe of her presence. I did see a great many butterflies; red admiral, comma, meadow brown, speckled wood, gatekeeper and the painted lady above. The others were far too busy squabbling, flitting and tumbling around. But she let me get close. She let me take countless pictures, and introduce her to a family of Americans that were hiking into town. I found myself telling them all about their journey from Africa, and how their generations migrate all the way up through Spain and France crossing the channel to end up here. Another miraculous thing, don't you think? That this most elegant of butterflies possesses so much grit and determination to go forth and be.
The weather was practically perfect today. The sea was the colour of cobalt, calming and clear. The sky carried wisps of clouds, and the sun was warm. The gentlest of breezes came in off of the Atlantic, and it was a joyful couple of hours spent out on the cliffs. I had a feeling that I would be writing it down to share with you all. I've had my new computer for about a week now, but apart from setting it up, I've just not had the time to write. But now I have, and feel much better for it.