One morning this week, as I was coming downstairs I happened to glance out of our landing window and there it was, not moe than a yard from the glass, perched on top of a Berberis bush in the front garden - a Merlin. He saw me at the same instant that I saw him and we were both transfixed.
This is not really Merlin territory - they are birds of prey who revel in the high hills and moors; but this is not the first time I have encountered one here. Two or three years ago a young merlin flew into one of our windows and broke a wing. We rescued him and took him to a vet but he was too badly injured to survive and the vet put him down. So I can only assume that we must be on the flight path between their Summer and Winter habitats. But whatever the reason for his visit, when our eyes met I don't think I have ever seen a more wild look in his. He gave me a couple of moments of pure joy before he took off - and that taking off told me that he was indeed a merlin and not a female sparrowhawk, for he soared up into the air - up, up and away - none of that low, threatening sparrow hawk flight about him.
Spring moves on apace here. Today the Lenten roses are out (Heleborus Orientalis), so are the Primula Wanda, the Pulmonaria (soldiers and sailors) and the first of the little Spring tulips. The tulips were given to us some years ago by our Dutch friends (if you are reading this F and R, I can tell you that all your bulbs are thriving still). Little do they know that the weather forecasters tell us that the wind is coming from the North tomorrow and there may even be flurries of snow.
Lovely to be back in harness. I am visiting one or two of you each day - and so enjoying what I am reading. Have a good weekend and don't miss tomorrow's bus.