Recently the Queen unveiled a memorial in Green Park to all the bomber crews lost during the Second World War and another was unveiled at Beachy Head where most of the bombers departed on their way to Germany and which was the last sight of home for the 50,000 bomber crewmen who never returned. My wife's uncle was one of those. What has this got to do with birds you ask. Well I regularly visit Cowleaze Wood on the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire border which is owned by the Forestry Commission. Nearby is Linkey Down well known locally for its migrant Ring Ouzel passage in April.
Cowleaze Wood is worth a visit at anytime of the year and I have seen here in addition to the usual woodland birds, Common Crossbills, Common Redstarts, Siskins and Bramblings. Just a little way off the beaten track through the wood is a small memorial to a bomber crew who almost got home but tragically crashed on the top of the hill and all died. I was there today and saw Common Crossbills and Siskins near the memorial and this small token in memory of a group of young men who so tragically lost their lives always causes me to pause and realise despite my moans and groans just how lucky I am to be alive and be able to enjoy the birds in Cowleaze Wood and everywhere else I choose to go.