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birds of prey, burnings and blue skies 16 -26 March

The weather has been good for the last few days with blue skies and warm sun. We had a site visit for Gleann na Phúca today (Saturday 26) a pair of buzzards watch over us winging high and silent in the blue, making their elegant circles in the air. It’s good to see them in the city, and it’s good news that their population is rising here again.

https://westcorkpeople.ie/highlights/listen-for-the-call-of-the-common-buzzard/

And we had a visitation from a sparrowhawk earlier, she moved from Apple branch to Maple, rounding the bay tree where last year we found a wrens’ nest. Her golden eye watchful and unbothered by my presence. Yesterday I found remains of quarry, a pigeon, bones picked clean beneath the bay and a flurry of feathers up behind the poly tunnel. I am reassured by the presence of these majestic creatures, and life goes on in this small garden patch as I watch now a blackbird spend some time and effort hauling a worm from deep down beneath his feet, I watch the worm stretch and then snap out from its earthy home, in one gulp gone, into the bird’s golden beak.

watchful sparrowhawk

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/sparrowhawk/a-top-predator/

I walk out as the day is waning but the sun still warms the air, there is a decaptitated daffodil head at the bend of the Ballyhooly Road, its bright yellow capturing the sun, not yet bruised, or shriveled in the slightest, it seems defiant even beyond its last stand. There are many upright lines of narcissi in the Glen, each year a few survive a picking or a kicking, and there are wee colonies of them in the lakes planted out of harms way. The Celendines are out and shiny in little pockets under trees and the wood anemones cluster at the banks of the Fleischmann place; a sign of ancient woods I am told as they take time to establish a footing.

Not so the gorse, hardy out, it survives the annual burning season which begins as soon as the sun shines beyond St. Patrick’s day. Its yellow blaze burning before the fires, sending out its heady scent, the swathes of black charred heath are still fizzing and smelling of artichokes as I walk over the high ground sad, but confident the gorse will grow back, sorry about the more tender broom and perhaps some tender sapling trees that might have been planted there by TC, these are the cycles of the Glen and I am aware once more of the traffic roaring by at this level of the valley. I pass through a group of young people by the oak, talking tik tok in the elongated drawl and swagger of Cork Youth. I descend through the gothic zone saluting the Golum and the other hooded vegetation as I pass. I look back and see the lads are setting up camp under the oak, a small blaze in the place of last year’s fire pit.

Camp fire under The Oak

i arrive back at the bridges and daylight has given way to the eerie spill from the Resource Centre, flooding the park with its orange glow, the solitary yelllow bench an audience for the shouts of the sportsters on the pitches, invisible inside.

I step over the daffodil still there on the concrete at the bend home.

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