Hirundines were diving like Spitfires at aerodrome

editorial image

Monday, September 16, up early in the morning, we had some breakfast, fed the cat and the birds in the garden.

What a nice surprise to see the Robins back as they have spent the Summer months deep in the woods, and now they are moving back to their wintering territories. A young fledgling Blackbird was feeding on a fallen apple, not that surprising as Blackbirds can have two or three broods each year.

With map and sat nav we set off north heading towards Perth Aerodrome, situated just north of Scone as ‘her in doors’ had a flying lesson. The day before the winds were very high from a storm which hit north west Scotland, and we had been advised by the flight instructor to check in the morn if flyable weather was forecast for the afternoon. Luckily just a light north westerly breeze was expected, as we crossed the Forth Road Bridge with fingers crossed, and no speed restrictions we were pretty sure that it would be ‘chocks away’.

On arrival at the aerodrome we parked next to a very plush Maserati, the pilot’s car! As this was a smaller Cessna, with only two seats I was restricted to ground control, had it been a larger plane with extra seats, for a small fee I could have jumped in the back and gone flying with the birds.

Camera in hand I was snapping away as the plane took to the sky, with time to waste I decided to see what wildlife was to be found around the aerodrome. First off I spotted a leveret (young brown hare) coming out of the hanger – that’s something you don’t see everyday! A murmuration of 300 Starlings flew overhead and mixed flock of over 100 Goldfinches, Siskins with a few Lesser Red-Poll were feeding on the edges of the runways. Good numbers of Pied Wagtails were taking insects in flight. Hirundines (Swallows and House Martins) were swooping and diving like Spitfires between the control tower and one of the hangers.

Large numbers of Corvids (Crow family) were busily following a tractor ploughing a nearby field, but the largest majority were Herring and Common Gulls, with a few Lesser Black Back’s and my favourite gull of all, the Black-Headed Gull, now changing into its Winter plumage, were all looking over the newly turned earth for an easy lunch.

A family of Buzzards were seen soaring high over a near wood, a Kestrel appeared and started it’s familiar hover-flight (just like the helicopter that took off five minutes prior) - suddenly it plunged to the ground (not the helicopter – the Kestrel) it took flight again, but alas, no prey, fortunate for the small mammal it had missed. Out of the blue, this huge winged object appeared, it was ‘her indoors’ and landed safely with a large cheesy grin.

We joined the pilot for a pot of tea in the small cafe and discovered he had only been in Scotland for a week and was delighted to learn about the wildlife we had spotted in the brief time at the aerodrome.