When I threw back the curtains yesterday morning, the first thing I noticed was a pair of birds circling and gaining height. I didn't have my specs on, so couldn't immediately estimate distance or size.
Happily, this always leaves open the possibility of eagles rather than buzzards though, sadly, it usually results in gulls.
Once I'd donned my specs, it was obvious that the higher bird was larger and had a slower wingbeat, and also that both birds were still circling and gaining height. My overall impression was that the smaller one was trying really hard to mob the larger one, if only it could beat it in the climb.
With my interest definitely piqued, I deployed bins to figure out whether we were dealing with raptors or gulls. As it turned out, it was neither, for I was now at the front door and could here the cronking of a Raven. To my astonishment, this was the smaller bird and, as I watched, it gave up the struggle to mob the larger bird, which was a Grey Heron.
I'm not sure I've ever seen a Heron flying that high, but it exited the climb with a leisurely drift northwards and a sense of a small victory won, as the Raven gave up the chase.
I could now take in the rest of the morning's view.
Over Scapa Flow, in the far distance, there was a dusting of snow on the tops of the higher Hoy hills. In the absence of even the slightest of breezes, the surface of the sea was like glass. It was quite idyllic, tempered only by the fact that, as often happens, it wasn't to last.
But, with a grand start to the day, I don't think either me or the heron cared.