I’m sitting at Noup Head in full camouflage waiting for a Hen Harrier to come and saunter over me. There’s been nothing for two hours, and I’m getting tired, when a female Kestrel flies fast and low directly towards me and lands next to me, too close to focus on. We eye one another.
It rests, preens and then sets off into the wind, hunting over the tussocky grass. That was wonderful.
There’s still no sign of any Hen Harriers, so I decide to make my way back to the car when I see the Kestrel is flying around the lighthouse.
It’s perching on the lighthouse wall and flying down to the ground as it hunts insects. It mantles them with shady wings and then retreats to the wall again. I crawl close and spend half an hour in its presence as it does acrobatic displays while hunting insects.
It’s a joy to watch.
Finally, it takes off and does two long flying loops around me, having a good look at me as it does so.
Then it’s away on another hunting mission. What a fabulous bird. I’ll never forget those eyes.