Sunday 28 November 2010


Following yesterday's deathly blog, it was pointed out by those far wiser than me (thanks, Admiral), that it was likely that we had been visited by more than one Sparrowhawk. The theory being that with the first appearance resulting in the definite kill of a Starling, there would be no need for that hawk to feed again so soon. Therefore the second appearance was probably a different bird.

The theory was wonderfully demonstrated this morning when we caught sight of a male Sparrowhawk on the lawn, trying to flush a Dunnock from a small dense shrub. When landing on either side of the bush did not have the desired effect (for the Sparrowhawk, not the Dunnock), the hawk proceeded to crash down on top of the bush, wings outspread, in order to spook its prey into flight. The Dunnock wasn't about to fall for that old trick and cleverly remained in the densest bit of vegetation. This was a very brave thing to do, as it can only have been mere centimetres from certain death. Eventually, the sprawk's patience wore thin and it flew off to try its luck elsewhere.

All this activity meant that we were able to gain good views of the male raptor, clad in a cloak of slate grey on its upper parts and with a rusty orange underside. Definitely not the bird photographed yesterday, which was clearly female. So now the conjecture has moved on to whether this is a pair of hawks, and if so, how large is their territory. More research needed...

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