On Wednesday afternoon, just half an hour after I'd read through C's brilliantly vivid post concerning her recent grisly encounter with a sparrowhawk (here), I went downstairs to make a coffee. On my way back up, I paused at the back window overlooking the garden and the marsh beyond, to take my first slurp. It was at this point I noticed the silence. The garden and sky above are usually busy with birdlife coming and going in a constant whirl of activity, but at that moment there was not one sparrow, tit, pigeon, starling, dove, dunnock or finch to be seen - or heard. I ran my eyes around the neighbouring rooftops and along our fence. Then I saw it. The very slightest movement. A well camouflaged sparrowhawk biding its time, on the lookout for a late lunch. For once my camera was nearby and I fired off a single, hopeful, shot in the general direction of the mass of greenery that blankets the fence towards the end of the garden. Can you see her?
No? I couldn't at first either. Hang on a moment, let me zoom in.
There she is. She may have been very still and very quiet (and very hidden!), but news of her presence had clearly spread through the local population - she was out of luck. It's been well over a year since we had an actual sparrowhawk kill in the garden, though sparrowhawks themselves are rarely far away. I heard a commotion in the sky not that long ago and looked up to see a large group of crows bullying and hectoring a lone sparrowhawk who appeared stubbonly reluctant to leave the area. Endlessly hassled and hugely outnumbered, it finally swooped off and away to find some peace and quiet.
Like C, we recognise some of our more frequent garden bird visitors and bestow (usually unflattering) names upon them - Stumpy, Lumpy, Dangle, Peg-Leg, Patch etc. Unlike poor old Limpy over at C's place however, for now at least, all the regulars remain present and accounted for.
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