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Showing posts from February, 2015

At the heart of the landscape

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There is symmetry, space and depth, a sense of expansive order. In the near distance, the shadows cast by the trees draw uniform dark bands across the sward. Each tree, individually different, but shaped by human hand through the cycles of pruning to offer a sense of managed nurturing, providing an architecture of form replicated a million times across the landscape.....for this open woodland stretches to the horizon and beyond. And even at the limits of our view, there is the stippling, the shapes of individual crowns. A swooping movement brings my focus back and accompanied by nasal calls a band of Azure-winged Magpies move between the trees, casting gentle arcs of motion, swinging in the same direction, to their communal roost.

Nothing more typifies the Extremaduran landscape than the dehesa. There is no neat English equivalent word for this habitat, and attempts to define it in anglicised form fail either in precision or elegance: I find wood pasture helpful, and terms like savan…

Golden fury

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With driving power, using barely half a dozen deep thrusting wingbeats, its dark massive form hurtled around the stand of trees in furious pursuit. Just a minute earlier a peace had hung over the scene, rippled merely by the soft nasal calls of Thekla Larks. Then we had stood under an empty sky, until there appeared in a way that only eagles can master a lone juvenile Golden Eagle. Somehow this bird that had materialised before us was already halfway across the sky....how did we miss its approach? I rationalised about challenges of picking up distant objects against blue skies, its angle of approach reducing detectability even more, but yet again we are gifted by surprise, as conversely its prey would be cursed. That is how eagles have evolved. As it passed, it narrowed its wings, reducing elevation and increasing speed. Too low to follow, we could merely sense its onward direction towards the trees. Then the eruption blew.

Loud, urgent yelping cries caused us to spin on our heels an…