Bruce's wonderful photos of red kites on his UK photos page reminds me that I see several every year here.
Exciting birds - bigger than buzzards and booted eagles; slightly smaller than short-toed eagles - they have a very distinctive profile. The forked tail is an instant giveaway of course (though not always visible), but the shape and slightly bowed position of their wings when soaring makes them stand out from other raptors, even at some distance. The last one I spotted was patrolling the orchards close to Patridge Path (see previous blog post).
Partridge Path is quite a rich area for birds: a green woodpecker is always particularly vocal and busy in the nearby woods. Often there's a buzzard or a pair of ravens and, at the other end of the scale, goldfinches provide flashes of brilliant colour in the sunshine. Woodlarks are common and their melodious song makes up for a rather drab appearance.
It's worth standing still and waiting to see what passes. Even sparrows can be worth watching. A favourite haunt of one flock is a stand of bamboo that runs along one side of P. Path. One day last autumn I stopped in my tracks to listen more closely to a sound like grain pouring out of a sack. It came again and again as the sparrows flew en masse from one end of the bamboo to the other, disturbing the canes that had gone to seed. They kept this up for a good minute or so until a few finally broke cover ... with a sparrowhawk (aptly-named) hot on their tails. Not the first time I've seen him there, either.