Kites, ospreys and six degrees of separation

We went to visit family at the weekend as part of the build-up to Christmas but managed to work in a bird watching exercise to tune us up for the Big Farmland Bird Count . We’ve spotted quite a few kites over the years as we visit family in Peterborough, and we generally see one or two around the Stamford stretch of the A1.

We saw seven kestrels, a buzzard and three kites. We could have done with a few more buzzards but as I said to Julia, this just shows how things change. When I was a kid it was a rare treat to see a buzzard and involved travelling a long way to see buzzards and all the way to Wales to even have a chance of seeing a kite. Of course, when you click the link and see there are now 700 kites to see in the area, it’s a bit deflating to think you only saw three.

After that we spent several days being ill with the latest bug going round. This is consequently our worse planned Christmas ever. I went out to buy the main stuff on a shopping trip a couple of days ago but didn’t quite get it finished because I started running out of steam (and because I ran out of space in the small-sized shopping trolley I had selected).

Next day I took a quick run down to Lidl to buy the bits I’d missed.

Now, I don’t want to subject you to a blog on my shopping habits because they aren’t very interesting, even to me, but there is one point of interest. For just under £25 I bought a serviceable-looking telescope, so it looks like bird watching in 2015 just took on a new dimension.

I’m resigned to the fact it won’t have top-quality optics but I suspect it will be better than our current telescope, purchased in the 1970s to watch a squacco heron at Eyebrook Reservoir. That brings back memories…


Sorry, when I woke up this morning I realised there was a distinct lack of Osprey in the post,. On looking again I also see no mention of the six degrees. I have excuses, of course, including three different versions of A Christmas Carol to watch.

I never did see an osprey when I was young, I had to wait until the kids started bird watching and I was able to engineer a holiday in Scotland.

However, having started looking up ospreys I found a link to a blog called Ken’s Diary. It’s about the Ospreys at Rutland Water. It also contains mention of Orton Longueville School, where he used to teach and where he recently went to talk about Ospreys.

That is the magic of the internet, you start by looking for ospreys and end up meeting your old history teacher.

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