Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 21/08/2011

They call me the wanderer


I roam around around around, Cornwall. If you hadn’t noticed, and the previous eight days blog titles should have given you a clue, I’ve been away (which also explains the lack of new photos on Flickr for the past week). For those of you who arranged for the rather impressive traffic jam on Saturday to delay or even stop my return, well done it really was an impressively long line, trying to muster all those vehicles to impede my return must have taken a great deal of organising. Pity it didn’t work and I’m here blogging again. Better luck next time (you probably would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids!).

I’m starting with my photos from the end of the holiday… why? It’s not that I’m starting with the best, though I do like these photos of a juvenile Harris Hawk (and I’ll explain why when I was out hunting for Adders on Cornwall’s largest dunes, I actually managed to photograph a Harris Hawk – all in good time, all in good time). Every journey starts with a single footstep (I hate these bland platitudes – and as this one popped into my head I feel it only right and proper I share it with you – share the love, divide the pain (oh no, there we go again, I’ll be writing motivational posters next – actually, there’s a thought)), climb every mountain, what goes up must come down (unless we’re talking about petrol/gas prices) – you can tell I’m stalling for time whilst I think up a plausible excuse! Dead transparent, me!

As I mentioned, my intention for the last full day of our holidays was to go out over some dunes that are close to where our friends in Cornwall live to try and photograph Britain’s only venomous snake, the Adder. Snakes have been regularly spotted throughout the dune system,but I really was expecting miracle setting out at noon in Summer time when the snakes having absorbed enough heat would be at their most active (I know there were some free bread and fish being handed out but no sign of any serpents (though I guess I was in the Garden of Eden (actually that was the day before’s “Project” ) – I’ll let you work that last one out for yourselves).

Whilst traversing the dunes I noticed two blokes sitting, one of whom appeared to have a large bird of prey resting on his arm. I know I need new glasses and have having checked my eyesight a couple of times, approached them. Sure enough, one of the men had a Harris Hawk perched on his gloved hand. The hawk was a young one, and still had some of it’s baby feathers, and the men were getting it in training so that when fully fledged they could fly the bird without the risk of it disappearing over the nearest horizon. It was great talking to two knowledgeable and enthusiastic bird lovers and I certainly learnt a lot. Hopefully these photos fully convey this magnificent bird in it’s best light (from the West).

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