I saw three deer this morning on the way to work. One strode elegantly across the road and hopped through a gap in the hedge; further on, two stood stock still in a field, heads raised, watching my car.
The 10-mile drive to the A1 is fraught at this time of year as my foot hovers constantly over the brake pedal. The road may be quiet as sensible people slumber in bed, but the verges and hedgerows are teeming with life: baby rabbits basking in the early sunshine, hares lolloping in the field, squabbling yellowhammers and chaffinches getting much too close to my windscreen as they show off their aerial acrobatics. Fat blue-grey wood pigeons whirr away at the last moment; likewise, the doves, their cousins. The pheasants, less lust-driven than in early spring, nonetheless remain a liability near the road. Partridges, in my experience, are much more circumspect.
On to the A1, and the wildlife changes. This time, the creatures are harder, more streetwise: I suppose they have to be to survive. This is the country of crows and magpies. Occasionally, Charlie slinks across the carriageway. A couple of times last year, I saw the undulating tails of red squirrels as they scampered to the safety of the other side. Kestrels hover above mice. At night, traffic-hardened rabbits, like the Owsla of Efrafa, closely graze the verge.
In the winter, I used to see the creamy apparition of a barn owl in the same spot most mornings as he returned home from a night’s hunting. It was winter too, when I saw the not-fox illuminated in my headlights.
We should bring David Attenborough up here. He’d love it.