Last week the field at the back of our houses in my lane was cut, left to dry for a day then on Sunday it was baled. The machine, which couldn't be seen for the tree foliage, chugged about most of the day and from upstairs I could see these black shapes dotted about. This morning they've all gone.
When I first came here this field was a wildlife haven of self sown shrubs, nettles, huge blackberry bushes, grasses and teasels scattered among the enormous chunks of concrete from various demolition jobs.
It used to be working sandpits for about 100 years, fine sand for making glass, I understand, and home to hundreds of sandmartins. There was a 'lake', too, which someone had stocked with fish liberated from the River Thame down at Eythrope. Then it became an unregulated rubbish tip and apparently there was wholesale and unregulated dumping, including waste from Aylesbury's building 'improvements' in the 1960s. Schwarzkopf allegedly dumped pallets of hair dyes and sprays, making a ditch's water run yellow. But by the time I came here, it was a haven for birds, badgers and for all I know, foxes, too.
Then the whole site was bought by a developer to build two expensive houses in the area near the lane and the rest was to be a field. Tipper lorries by the dozen brought in soil from the Fairford Leys development (I understand) and levelled the surface of the now raised ground to make the field which is there at present.
But no one who is local would think of putting livestock on this polluted ground so it stands idle. A few people from the houses in my lane walk their dogs round the edges but otherwise - it just sits. Birds are infrequently seen out there, just a few starlings these last few days, foraging in the short grass.
But on Sunday there were seven kites circling over the garden and the field, waiting for any carrion to be exposed by the baling machine. What an opportunity to take photos as they glide and soar past. Huh! It's harder than it looks. The closer they are the faster they sweep past so this is the best of the bunch which I took. They are flying against a very dark rain cloud on this humid afternoon.
Perhaps I'll get another chance some other day!
In the top photo the trees/hedges furthest away are on Waddesdon Hill at Upper Winchendon.