I looked into the branches of the two old sycamores which frame the view from my garden, and then I saw what was up. The local Tawny Owl was flying from one tree to the other, and there was something dangling from its talons. It turned to reverse direction, and flew off down the lane with two blackbirds in hot pursuit.
It reminded me again that developing a love for nature can be a hazardous occupation for those even remotely inclined towards the squeamish or the sentimental. Nature is never a cruel mother – the concept is effectively redundant – but she can be a remarkably indifferent one.