Encounter with a Brown Falcon

Diary of a Retiree: Day 276

Only the form of this bird appeared from the fog as I crossed the Acheron Cutting. A large raptor like shape sitting in a leafless tree, not far off ground level, but over a sheer drop. It was the size and shape that first caught my eye, but I wasn’t sure it was a bird of prey until I was well on my way past. By this time, there was nowhere to safely turn around and I had to continue to the bottom of the hill. At first, I thought there was no point in turning back, surely it wouldn’t still be there. However, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I climbed back up the hill and there it was. I could have almost believed it was waiting.

I parked behind a tree at a distance and out of line of sight. Walking carefully around the tree I became fully exposed, approaching a few steps at a time while pressing the shutter button.

Slowly, the detail of its plumage and facial features took on definition through the grey suspension of water in the air. At first, the bird sat watching me with its left eye, then stared intently at me front on for a while, before casually turning to watch me with its right eye. It remained unperturbed for some minutes.

Eventually, as I got closer, it moved its body for the first time, into a posture that suggested it was going to launch itself over the edge. Decisively, it took off with a strong, swift, smooth motion of its wings as I got a final few shots.

What a privilege to share some space and time with such a beautiful creature.



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