A world turned upside down

Ravens are wary birds. They recognise humans from a huge distance and fly away, because all of those who didn’t have been killed.

Raven - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The same flight response has happened to me on walks around the Westray coast, until today. Today there are two Ravens who are so interested in each other that they’ve become unaware of my presence. I’m crouching in full camouflage on the grassy cliff-tops as they display. One flies high and then plummets, tucking its wings in and then twisting upside down as it falls in a straight dive.

Raven - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s astonishing that any bird can do it. They’re flying so close to me, calling as they hug the coast and then one tumbles yet again.

Raven - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s one of the most breathtaking spectacles I’ve seen, a wild natural fairground ride. I see one mount the old nest underneath the ogre’s face. Can you see the face of the ogre?

The nest is full of barbed wire, dried seaplants and sheep’s wool. It was originally a Raven’s nest and then was commandeered by a pair of Peregrines. They haven’t returned to breed here this year, so it’s back to being a Raven’s nest.

Raven - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I wish them well.

Here’s when it was a Peregrine Falcon’s nest:

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