Friday, 27 June 2008

Swifts and a Tern

Yesterday I watched the Swifts feeding on Hampstead Heath. They were flying low over the meadow so that I could really feel how fast they were going. I say feel rather than see because it wasn't possible to track them with my eyes - they were too fast. A couple of times one came right by my head and I heard the throb of its wings. I tried to focus on the insects that were 'swimming' in the air above the grass and every so often a swift whizzed briefly into view. I was looking at a butterfly when the blur of a swift streaked past and the butterfly vanished.
Afterwards I stopped and watched an Arctic Tern flying over the boating pond. It was such beautiful flying - so graceful and seemingly effortless. And I love the way the Tern's head is pitched forward at an angle so that it can peer down into the water. I saw it dive and though it missed what it was going for I thought that, a targeted fish, just like the butterfly, wouldn't have a clue what had happened to it.