Saving the best till last

garden flowers birds 172It was long after what is technically classed as lunchtime before I got home. It had been a busy morning in spite of playing with the camera in my son’s garden. The day was sunny but windy… a perfect day for a long walk and I had promised the small dog we would have a proper wander when I came home. First, however, I needed bare feet for a while and a coffee. I uploaded the pictures of the flowers, wiped the memory card and put the camera battery, almost dead, on charge… and thought I might as well set about clearing the inbox while I was at it. I had journals to respond to and I wanted to get them done too.

spring walk kite 057Except, the power went off. After checking the fuse box and the meter it was apparent that it was a power failure… nothing I could do but wait. I drummed my fingers and twiddled my thumbs for ten minutes. I hadn’t even had that coffee yet. The solution was obvious… walk now, coffee later. Ani was ecstatic. I grabbed the camera, hoping the battery would hold out just a little while longer, and we headed off into the spring fields.

spring walk kite 003Of course, we hadn’t gone more than half a mile or so before we came to the pond and The Incident with the mallard duck. Common sense would have dictated that I head for home, a shower and a change of clothes at this point. But common sense wasn’t walking through an English spring with a laughing dog. You had to see it… I could squelch a mile or two longer. I husbanded the battery on the camera, kicking myself for not buying another spare… hoping it would at least last long enough to capture a fragment of the magic through which we were walking, the small dog and I. As it happened, the battery would not die until I had taken a picture of the final gift of the walk.

spring walk kite 014American visitors always comment on how green the landscape of England appears. Today the colour of spring is impossible to render … the fields are velvet carpets bordered by frothy white hedgerows full of blackthorn and early cherries. Carpets of celandine gild the borders, punctuated by swathes of dandelions and daisies. Toadflax and bugle, dead nettle and periwinkle… tiny splashes of blue and purple amid the green.

spring walk kite 033From this magic carpet butterflies rise with almost every step. Tiny brown ones, impossible to identify as they fly and disappear, peacocks, brimstones and orange tips stand out against the green and last year’s vegetation. They are everywhere. So are the bees… a constant humming, almost subliminally playing the soundtrack of summer.

spring walk kite 056The hills are low here, no more than the gentle curves of the body of a goddess; her perfume the incense of new-mown grass, damp earth and pine. The fields stretch over the land as a counterpane, embroidered with silk and flowers.

spring walk kite 023Where the hedgerows give way to the tall trees, the next phase of beauty is being prepared. Sycamore are unfurling their leaves, chestnuts holding their candles to the wind… and a rare grove of black poplar provides a stunning backdrop to the white of cherry blossom; petals showering confetti upon the vernal bride. From every tree the birds sing. The whirring wings carry them in search of nesting material and you cannot help but smile at their beaks stuffed full of grass, twigs and feathers.

spring walk kite 004And then you look up. Above you, the red kites soar in silent beauty. There was a pair of buzzards too. I have almost given up trying to capture them in flight. Almost, but not quite. With a tripod and patience, perhaps I would get that shot, but with a small dog running full pelt on the end of my arm, that is not going to happen and her joy is worth more than a photo.

spring walk kite 049As we approached the final corner of the fields on our way home a kite flew in low, circled over us and came to land in the pine tree where I know there is a nest. The camera battery was almost gone… almost, but not quite… and once again I came eye to eye with these great birds of prey whose wingspan is far greater than my height. And once again, they saved the best till last.

spring walk kite 074How can I explain how it feels when these great birds glide down and fly around you? Are there words for that feeling when you are walking with kites, attended by their presence and graced by their wings? If there are, I can find none. Something within rides the wind with them; you see the world through their eyes and their keening pierces your heart.

spring walk kite 077

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Birds, Dogs, flowers, nature, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Saving the best till last

  1. TanGental says:

    Those kites are fabulous, aren’t they. We walked a section of the Thames path last summer and approaching Henleey we seemed surrounded by four or more clicking and swooping around us. Just brilliant


    • Sue Vincent says:

      There are places where folks feed them… and to see thirty or more in the air at once in absolutely incredible… though that doesn’t seem the same as when the wild birds come to you somehow.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. K'lee L. says:

    These are stupendous! You also have a great way of describing your world. I felt as if I had been transported while reading! Love the kite shots at the end too!


  3. Wonderful post! Spring is so much further ahead with you, and the kites are wonderful, great capture 👌


  4. Lovely post – yet again, Sue


  5. jenanita01 says:

    I love coming on these walks with you, Sue, but this one was more than special. Thank God your camera hung on just long enough!


  6. trentpmcd says:

    Some nice shots but the ones of the kite are great. I always love getting close to the big birds of prey – usually for me it;s the osprey.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I don’t think I’ve seen an osprey…not for certain, anyway. Not wild… not yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • trentpmcd says:

        From a distance they’re not super impressive, but when you realize their wings are longer than my outstretched arms (notice I said “mine” and not yours? ;)) well… They have a bigger wingspan than anything here except maybe the vultures (super common actually) and the eagles (not as common…). They’re endangered but I see a lot on the small pond on Cape Cod that I kayak on. Still, those kites you photograph are impressive. Their heads look almost eagle-like.


        • Sue Vincent says:

          They are a similar size to the red kites, I think. The markings on the kites are stunning though.. with a hald circle painted on their backs when their wings are outstretched. Their wingspan dwarfs me 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  7. mnghostt says:

    I really liked the first pic. I can hardy wait for my crab apple trees to blossom.


  8. Magnificent photos of the kites! We’ve had a hawk visiting our yard these last few days. The crows keep chasing it away. Have not had the camera on hand yet, though.


  9. Dale says:

    Wow. Just. Wow! Thank you for bringing us along for your walk with your dying camera. I hate when that happens! Those kite shots are simply amazing!


  10. ksbeth says:

    wow, sue. this is stunning!


  11. ramonawray says:

    SO beautiful…


  12. Dennis says:

    Wow. You had luck that the battery did still hold when you found the eagle 🙂 Great photos!


  13. Eliza Waters says:

    Wow, your photos are so gorgeous and your words are masterful. That’s why King Kite chose you I think. You’d do him justice. I can see that Gaia loves you as much as you do her! ❤


  14. What a beautiful post…it made my mind happier… 🙂


  15. BunKaryudo says:

    They really are beautiful birds when you see them close up, aren’t they?


  16. Pingback: Red letter day – France & Vincent

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