The sun shines over the black fen and in the distance a young Tiercel is hunting. The horizon fills with swirling and turning flocks of Lapwing ,Golden Plover, Rooks and Jackdaws, but it is the ball of Starlings that are most in danger. They contract and pulse as the Peregrine jack-knives, then straightens into a low sprint across the fields.
Out on Burwell Fen the waders and ducks stay close to the tussocks of sedge and rushes. Godwits and Ruff mingle in a group, and four Dunlin trudge past a gathering of male Shovelers. The open water is empty save for a pair of Whooper Swans with their cygnet. Two more swans drop in- Bewick's this time, but they don't stay long, and when they take off they are soon followed by the Whoopers. The sun is still bright, but is sinking fast when the Phantom appears over the bank in front of us.
Ermine vest and black velvet gloves.
Using the following wind the Hen Harrier glides across towards the reserve, the epitome of simple beauty and perfect hunter-over Harrison's Drove, where a flock of fieldfare have been blowing through the willows, and onto the roost. In the fading light at least two males and a Ringtail circle low, quartering the area before disappearing in the winter darkness.