Disturbing Another’s World

With the weekend looking like it’ll be foul for riding, today was a quick off-road dash out between the showers, before the deluge.

I know it’s only a few days before their due date, but I was surprised to see Mayflies in the lanes near Kidmore End today; if anything April’s felt colder than it should be.

On the lane from Cross Lanes down to Mapledurham, I disturbed a large, presumably adult, Red Kite, feeding on the verge. I couldn’t see what the carrion was in the grass. When one of those birds flies up just a few feet in front of you, it’s pretty spectacular – both the colouring and sheer size of it.

Perhaps strangely, I felt quite guilty. The showery, soggy day meant there was no-one around apart from me and I felt like I shouldn’t be there – I was intruding in to that Red Kite’s world, and doubtless really hacking him off too as I forced him to leave his meal.

Photo: Crumbling roads in South Oxon

Crumbling roads in South Oxon

I then thought that was stupid: it’s not that bird’s world at all. This was a Red Kite in my, human world – on a roadside, next to a field that’s farmed, probably feeding on something that’s been killed by a human, and so on.

And then you look at the crumbling road surface and the plants poking through the holes – it’s yet another testimony to the local council’s failings – and think about how nature’s permanently poised to overcome everything and anything we impose on the planet and undo all our efforts at control. And then you think about how dependent and frail humans are these days. And then you realise your first thought is right – I was disturbing a Red Kite in his world.