Into the Forest, one of my favourite places. It looked stunning today, with a fair amount of snow lying, lit up by sunshine. It was colder up here, with the car thermometer reading -1. Stopping at my first vantage point I couldn't believe my luck when within minutes the stiff-winged slow flap of a displaying female Goshawk came in over the ridge from the north hotly pursued by her smaller suitor. I watched them for a minute and decided I wanted better views, so I hightailed it down the valley - big mistake - I didn't see them again!
Heading further west I briefly saw another Gos, but she disappeared behind the ridge all too quickly. This was getting tantalising! I moved further, negotiating the snowy road and pulled in at another favourite spot. Scanning the southern ridge revealed nothing, but suddenly a Gos called from the wooded knoll behind me- and it was close! I walked quietly up the road and suddenly saw a raptor fly off through the trees, I retraced my steps and amazingly, the bird casually came flying along the top of the wood and landed in the top of a Scot's Pine - unbelievable! The bird was a big immature female and was only a field away from me! I got the scope on her: she was a big buffy beast with big drop-shaped black streaks on her underside and a chocolate brown upperside. Her eye was yellow, not the orange of the adults. She glowered around and then took off before I managed to get a photo, and dropped into the wood. A few tense minutes later and I heard her calling again, and then boom, there she was, flapping over the canopy again, she cruised round and passed right in front of me - what a view! She flew in big lazy circles round the copse, just above tree-top height, making three or four passes in front of me. Suddenly, another bird came out and sparred with her briefly - an adult male Gos! She headed off back into the copse - I didn't see where the male went. A fabulous start to the Goshawk season.