Hawks in the Skies
Certainly, not a Brexit issue has been the heartbreaking reports of families being stranded at Gatwick during the drone attack. The problem could hit any country in the world and I feel for the police and armed forces who are trying to find the culprits. German airports were put on to high alert today but because of a very real terrorist threat. Sick society.
This morning, Germany's "Astro-Alex" landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan after 6 months in space, having been the second European to command the ISS. It's his second mission and like the UK's Tim Peake has been an inspiration for the young. In both missions, he has been sending back spectacular photos of the earth but on his final video from space, addressed to his maybe one day grandchildren, he apologised for what our generation has been doing to the planet and hoping we can still make the corner and start to improve matters.
We also suffered an attack from the skies. Angie, as she returned from a morning ride, noticed that there were none of our chickens to be seen scratching about in the garden or fields. A sure sign of something wrong. As she dismounted, one of the girls came hopping towards her as they do when they think they may get a treat. She picked her up and entered the house where I saw hennie enjoying being cuddled in Angie's arms. I said "oh, what are you two doing?" and then Angie, without a word, lifted a wing to expose the entire front breast open and all the innards fully on show - an area the size of a man's hand and only innards - no flesh.
I went to the garden shed and got an axe, Heartbreaking to have to lay her on a block with her looking at us quite brightly and trustingly, no doubt pumped with adrenalin. And after the deed, the interminable time the eyes and body move makes it all far worse.
Angie tells me it was one of the half dozen sparrow-hawks that live around our property - I am not sure as we have so many different types of bird of prey. They have been active for a month or more and we have lost at least three girls now. I love seeing birds of prey around us and understand the rules of nature, but it's still heartbreaking.
For much of the year, we are pretty safe from them so long as the kites are about and last winter we even had a few stay. This year I haven't seen any kites for several weeks - I hope not a sign that it will be a hard winter.
The photo was taken as Luna and I went out for the evening walk. It was taken at 17:00 (5:00 pm for Brits), half an hour after sunset and five minutes before dusk. As we walked to this point, two sparrow-hawks landed in the large birch trees directly above me. With only the mobile phone, I couldn't get a worthwhile photo. It's also the very point where they attack our girls who perhaps feel secure being under trees and less wary than when they are on the adjoining fields.
Perhaps I need to investigate an automatic drone system to scare them off! I do hope the Gatwick experience doesn't result in drone flyers being "persecuted". Here on Blip, we have one who I know is incredibly aware of what he does when flying and will not do so if he has the slightest concern someone may feel uneasy. About to retire from the RAF where he still trains pilots after decades of being a fighter pilot. The aerial photos he posts from time to time are simply wonderful, putting a whole new aspect on scenes.