I step forward quietly, carefully; leaves part before my eyes and I look out into a small clearing.
My quarry stands in the open oblivious to me. Its head darts about in swift furtive motions, first down to feed, then up looking around.
I take another tentative step forward, careful to ease my foot between the sticks and leaves. No noise. My concentration is intense. No noise.
The head darts up sideways on. I go rigid as I come under the scrutiny of a single dark eye, glistening like a wet marble in the sunlight.
I feel for the wind, but what little breeze there is blows into my face. I made the mistake last week of approaching from the wrong direction and wonít quickly repeat it Ė but still the wind can shiftÖ
The eye continues to look on. Iím hidden in the shadows, I must be. So what went wrong? It canít smell me, but did it hear me? I think over my approach, each step carefully placed, not the least sound. No that canít be it.
Did it see me? Even now Iím deep in the shadows of the trees, and my movements have been slow. It canít have seen me!
I hardly dare to breathe as the head twitches a fraction to one side and an eyelid flickers across the glassy eye.
Itís seen me, it must have. Itís going to escape, I have to go now!
I leap forward and in two swift bounds Iím out of the trees and into the sunlight. Thereís a flurry of wings as I leap and I miss the blackbird by a good ten inches. I had known it was a mistake the moment I had started to move, but by then it was too late to stop.
Mother steps out of the shadows. Her tail twitches; a sure sign sheís disappointed. Her green eyes stare over me at a distant tree, pupils narrowed to the faintest of vertical slits in the bright sunlight. Sheís so angry she canít even look at me. I guess hunting practice is over for the day.
Still, no great loss. Iíll get the hang of this one of these days, but for now the sun feels so good. I roll on my back and stretch out my legs.
Hey was that a butterfly? Iím on my feet again, bounding across the verdant clearing.
Mother looks on in disgust for a second then turns back towards the trees.
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