Yesterday afternoon was one of the hottest this summer for humans. Sundresses, shorts, bare backs and legs, dips in the Lake and ice-creams did little to stop a mist of gentle perspiration. At the upper view point on Dodd the rock face baked and crackled, reflecting its heat and experience to the volunteers and visitors. Not the day for exertion you might think! However, 8A thought differently and kept his audience on the edge of their seats (at Whinlatter) or straining against the fence (at Dodd) with his “Shall I, Shan’t I” antics on the nest. Tremendous routines of flapping and lifting into the air above the nest were interspersed with teetering balances on the edge of the nest as he looked down the dizzy heights to the ground beneath. Flight may be instinctive, but it is also a frightening business to finally take the flap to the point of no return. A near moment was when the wind took him beyond the last sticks of the safety net and only frantic back pedalling got him landed again. But eventually the leaving of the nest in the afternoon was less dramatic, a mere slide up the breeze and there he was, gone.
Unlike some of our other chicks he thankfully stayed in sight for most of the afternoon in the vicinity of his home, using the branches above the nest as a marker for his circles and returns, and eventually finding his way back to base. A fine start for a wing cadet.