23
Aug
12

To live another day

Not much of a picture this. Certainly not an award winning photo, no gold medals, not even bronze ones … but read on.

As I was laid in bed the other morning I heard a noise outside; a rhythmical song of sorts drifting in through the open window. It was one of those half awake moments, one of those early stages of awakening. I wasn’t sure if I’d heard it or dreamt it. Then … there it was again. “Wet-my-lips …Wet-my-lips”. We had a Quail in the fields outside the house.

Closer investigation revealed it was around 20m into a field of Barley.

I have stood in not too tall grass on a previous occasion and had one of these small birds calling from between my feet and still not been able to see it… seriously. A 100 acre field of two foot deep Barley was therefore more than an adequate hiding place. I have only seen Quail well on one previous occasion.

It was later that week I heard the distinctive loud mechanical thrashing outside that could only have been a harvester. Standing at the field edge I waited for the Quail to make a move. Its habitat was being eroded strip by strip. It was still calling from time to time even as the massive machinery passed close by. It waited until the last centimetres of cereal were about to be cut before it made its move. Exploding from under the cutters like a bullet from a gun the Quail flew 100m into the small remaining island of standing Barley. As the harvester moved on to this last stand, I feared for the birds safety. Once again it waited until the very last moment before flying and sought refuge in some vegetation at the far edge of the field. No frame filling image of the bird in flight; it was too quick; too desperate … but the bird was alive.

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