Country diary: a winter walk in the company of birds


Allendale, Northumberland: On this well-trod path I have become familiar with the locals, I know where to spot the heron and the vantage points of the kestrel

My regular walks have been a chance to get to know the locals better. Just as I have routines, patterns, repetitions, so do they. We share the need for shelter, food and safety. They like their distance and are careful that I don’t come too close.

The kestrel is outlined against the winter sky, topmost on the little hawthorn that juts out from a stony bank. Wheeling away, he flies across the field to another favourite perch, a long-dead tree still standing angular and pale against the hillside.

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