Crossing the moor above Cragg Vale at 06:15, I spotted a bird of prey perched on a roadside fence-post. A quick slam-on of brakes, and a 20-yard reverse, and I found myself making eye-contact with a male merlin: our smallest bird of prey, and quite gorgeous.
My spare binoculars were in the glove-box, so I dug them out and had a closer look. His yellow legs really were remarkably yellow. Then I realised that my camera was in the boot of my car, so I sneaked out to try to get a photo.
No luck, I'm afraid: the merlin took off immediately, and flew off down the valley, keeping very low. It was only then that I realised just how small the bird was.
As I had my camera to hand, I took this photo of Cragg Vale. Sorry about the absence of merlins.
Lesson of the day: keep your camera bag inside the car, not in the boot!