Some mornings are just special. The first morning of the year that feels as if spring has truly arrived is one of them. A few days ago was such a morning, a morning that refreshes my soul and recharges my batteries.
Mist was lying low and clinging to the valley bottoms tighter than a shipwrecked sailor clings to a life ring. It wasn’t thick enough to filter early morning sunlight into a warm glow, but it was thick enough to soften the contrast that I expected to have to deal with immediately the sun cleared surrounding hills, until it burnt off that is. These are the kind of mornings that I love and it’s a privilege to be out at sunrise watching such a day come alive.
I have always found red-legged partridges to be shy birds. They usually secret themselves away under cover, or dash off at the first sign of any interest from me, so hopefully you will understand when I say that I was surprised to spot one sitting proud on top of a clump of heather. Basking in spring sunshine he was set against what would otherwise have been a very confusing background, but was in fact completely washed out to a pleasing pale blue-grey, thanks to the mist.
After carefully approaching as close as I dare I spent some time rattling off a few frames. I liked what I saw and tried out various compositions as a snipe was drumming overhead (I couldn’t see him – he was coming at me out of the sun). Suddenly the partridge disappeared from view. Arrgghh! I’ve spooked it.
Instead of running away as expected, he came even closer, walked in front of me, hopped up onto a towering wall and started calling. So naturally, I gave him another go until he finally turned around and walked away along the wall.
This week we’ve had a nice run of spring mornings that have been a pleasure to experience. But, as I said, the first of the year is always special.