Those Weather Lords had a quick practice run one day last week. I took much the same route on my walk that afternoon and it was then that I thought of the song from the musical Oklahoma, in particular the line about watching "the hawk making lazy circles in the sky". I see plenty of buzzards in France, although they are usually to be seen perched on fences or electricity poles along the lanes, but I rarely see any here in Sussex. Our most common raptor on the Downs is a smaller bird, a falcon, the kestrel or windhover, but that afternoon it was a buzzard that caught my eye as it passed overhead. I stood and watched and it started circling, gradually rising on the thermals until it was little more than a speck.
But to get back to yesterday. I took a slightly different track across the first field as I had spotted a farmer a couple of fields away sowing what I assume was barley in a field running down the valley and up the side of Tegdown Hill. I was interested in the patterns and wanted to take photographs (which you can see on my other blog). As I walked on I was astonished to see a large clump of snowdrops in bloom in the hedgerow (picture on my other blog tomorrow). I'm sure they can't really be wild; somebody must have thrown out or planted bulbs some years back and they have just spread.
Just along from the barley field is a very large field in which there are usually sheep. But not just now. These animals are due to lamb very soon and have been moved into the lambing sheds to make life easier for the farmer and his hands. I just hope he doesn't get hit by this awful Schmallenberg disease which is causing so much distress to sheep farmers here on the south coast and in East Anglia. I know what a joy it is to watch new-born lambs and I can only imagine how farmers must feel having to shoot lambs deformed so badly by this disease.
So, no sheep nor buzzard nor kestrel yesterday. But I did hear a snatch of song from a distant skylark as I came back, admiring the view across the Stanmer valley towards Castle Hill and Firle Beacon. I thought of other lines from that same song and paraphrased them:
I know I belong to this land
And the land I belong to is grand.