Winter wonders


The ever-changing Dumfries and Galloway weather keeps us on our toes here – oddly warm and sunny one minute, freezing cold with snow on the hills the next. The solar panels don’t know what to do… mind you, they have taken on a new role currently as shelter for our latest guests, four Texel tups, borrowed from a neighbour to graze down the long grass in our ‘wild’ area. I find them irresistibly entertaining and have to restrain myself from getting too friendly!

Another regular visitor has been a red kite. We’ve put large numbers of pheasant carcasses out in our field, thanks to the generosity of the local shoot (I skin and de-breast the birds first) and the kite is getting increasingly brave as it negotiates with the local buzzards and crows over who gets the richest pickings. I’m hoping to get a good photo one day but it’s hard to concentrate when a bird of such multi-coloured magnificence is so close overhead.

Other good sightings locally have been a dozen or so golden plovers in the high stubble fields, plus literally hundreds of skylarks rising from the same stubble as we walked the perimeter. Today’s moment of magic happened just as I’d puffed my way back up the road after a run, to find Steve at the top of the top field enjoying the view. We both stood in the sun, registering how lucky we are to live here when what sounded like a pigeon being fired out of a cannon shot over our heads … milliseconds later we recognised the local peregrine on the hunt and just caught sight of it again as it narrowly missed its prey – a genuine and supremely lucky pigeon. Phew!

Finally – an image I caught just now and one most of us take for granted.