I feel very protective towards the Meadow Pipits and the Skylark pair at The Scrubs that are trying to breed - as you know. I have developed such a strong urge to conserve these birds that I would usually think nothing of confronting any dog walker who had the misfortune to have strayed into the grassland.
Today proved to be one battle too many that left me feeling battered and distressed. First there was the guy who showed a blatant disregard for the sign that clearly requested that he stuck to the recognised paths. The fact that we was walking a burly Rottweiler didn't deter me. Although he initially gave me an attitude when I asked him if he could read, he at least said sorry. I also powerlessly watched from a distance, a couple of individuals march directly through the Skylark breeding area. One was a woman with 3 dogs, the other a guy who was clearly short-cutting.
Then the low-flying model aircraft started up, skimming the tops of the grass. Then the thing that I feared the most happened. A Skylark launched itself from the grass in a vertical flight that made me initially think that it was about to burst into song, indeed it did call. But then, after gaining a fair height, it started to head south. I watched it until it was a small dot.
I felt upset, frustrated, angry and extremely defeated all at the same time. I managed to convince myself that I did all that I could and that maybe, just maybe my Skylark might come back.
I'll go in the morning to find out.