A birthday treat was to visit the reintroduced Great Bustards on the military range of Salisbury Plain. Amid great secrecy (blindfolds, Official Secrets Act, chinese burns) we were taken by Land Rover across the firing ranges to a hide on the plain. From there we could see an enclosure with three dots that (on magnification) turned into great bustards.
Looking through the provided Swarovski, the dots became three heaps of feathers - apparently turkeys trying to turn themselves inside out.
One bird (purple 5) was clearly the dominant male, and was the only one to have reached breeding maturity so far. He's a bit of a star, and knows it.
At each arrival, Purple 5 would approach the newcomer, which would crouch down into a submissive pose. Purple 5 would then strut around for a while, but then the group would calm down and proceed to lek again.
While watching the bustards, a popular pastime was playing spot-the-stone-curlew. At 400 yards or so, that's a challenge, but eventually one was seen "just to the left of the dandelion". Great to see.
Unexpectedly, a pub in Oxford was found to sell Arkells Kingsdown Ale, which tasted not half bad.