Tuesday 4 March 2008

She's Back!

OK, I can hear you asking, why am I looking at a picture of some blurry Iris foetidissima in fruit and some ground? Look more closely - almost central in the frame, just to the right of the Iris is the shoulders and back of head of our female sparrowhawk, leaning down to pluck a freshly killed sparrow.

Mum worked from home today, and about the same time as Dad was texting to say he was on the way, Mum had strolled down to the kitchen to make coffee, and was gazing out of the kitchen window waiting while the kettle boiled. Suddenly she noticed that the brown bird on the ground just down the steps from the bird-feeder was our old friend!

She raced back up stairs, scattering amazed dogs in all directions, and scrabbled in the case for Dad's good camera, feverishly slapping the 300mm lens on the front, then grabbing a chair and dragging it onto the bathroom, the better to get a photo-angle vantage point. She sqeezed off 4 shots before she was busted by the hawk, who shot off nervously, like they do, taking what remained of the prey with her. She left behind, for Dad to find, just the sad spread of feathers. Sometimes they leave you an upper mandible and a bit of forehead-bone too, but not always.

Mum and Dad are thrilled to know that she is still with us, despite all the building works going on behind us and Bruce's merry men in their Hi-Vis jackets. Mum and Dad are mad keen wildlife gardeners, feeding the local birds all year round with a good variety of food - they have been for years - so as a result we have a very healthy population of songbirds around the garden, and the sparrowhawk gets a very good serving off this pub-grub on a regular basis.


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