At the moment, when I hear rustling in a hedgerow, more often than not it turns out to be a human, bent double, foraging for wild asparagus or other delicacies I know nothing about. I must confess I'm never tempted by those tender green tips poking through the undergrowth in verges - can't help thinking of all the animals (dogs mostly and mine in particular) that have probably left their mark in passing!
I've found one or two very different things in the last few days, however, which I won't be adding to my Easter omelette either.
I don't normally collect feathers but couldn't resist bringing this one home because it's in such pristine condition. I didn't think it was the moult season, so was surprised to come across it. At first I thought it might be a kestrel's tail feather, but it's 22cm long - which would make for a very big kestrel - and research confirms it's from a buzzard's tail. According to a wonderful new book I've just bought (The Raptors of Europe and The Middle East by Dick Forsman) resident raptors start to moult during the breeding season. There are buzzards all year round where I found this feather, and nesting begins in March - so that puts me straight; I shouldn't have been surprised at all.
Interesting to watch the way she moved when she walked away.