Gorgeous, clear blue skies and spring sunshine today to mark the start of April, although being Scotland the temperatures were cruelly more winter-like in stark contrast to the sunshine. Gordon was taking Bruce the greyhound off to the beach for a good chance to run around like a loon and sniff as many other doggy bottoms as he could (the beach is essentially a dog social club) so I tagged along. Part way down we saw a bird of prey – neither of us is very good a ornithological matters and so we had no idea if it was a kestrel or whatever, but we could tell is was clearly a bird of prey. It was a stunning silhouette soaring effortlessly over a field, elegant dark shape against a luminous blue sky, only the occasional beat of those powerful wings, the rest of the time it simply glided with a grace no human aircraft can ever match, confident, powerful, assured, monarch of its realm of air. Simply stunning. I wonder what our earthbound world below looked like to its razor sharp eyesight?

Just a little later we came round a bend on a country road and a grouse ran right across the road in front of us, paused for a moment at the edge of the road, looked at us, then vanished through a fence. Most of the time the birds I see, living in the city, are pigeons (pooing everywhere) and those raucous seagulls, making a dreadful racket and raiding the bins (although to be fair they look amazing when they seem to hover almost motionless in a stiff sea breeze). I do sometimes see some bats flying around Mel’s garden (which I love) as dusk falls, although they, of course, aren’t birds (bit they are so darned cool – Mel hates them, I love them). So to see one unusual (for us) bird was one thing, but to see two was a real treat. And whatever that bird of prey was that soared over us, passing like a lord of the air, ignoring the assembled crows picking at freshly ploughed fields with a regal disdain, it was an amazing sight. Just for a few seconds the world stops and you see something amazing.