Friday, 10 March 2017


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.

The Soundcarriers - Hideaway


C said...

Ah, absolutely love this! Amazing that you could get that shot, she is well camouflaged - beautiful. The 'pet' names - haha - yes we've had a few like yours alongside Limpy (Boilyhead, Onefoot - they all seem to reflect afflictions!) I'm glad your familiar garden pals survived - although I'm always in two minds as I don't like to think of the sparrowhawk starving either. An anonymous sparrow is probably the easiest to accept but at the same time I don't feel too sad about Limpy, it really is survival of the fittest out there, and the sparrowhawk is a magnificent example.
Thanks for sharing this one and for the link back.

The Swede said...

Thanks C. The sparrowhawk is an extremely impressive beast to see in action. It was such a coincidence to spot one hiding in our garden so soon after reading about your own close encounter.

Alyson said...

What a strange piece of synchronicity for you to have this encounter with a sparrowhawk just after reading C's post. (Seems to happen a lot in blogland.) Didn't see it in the first shot so glad you zoomed in for the next shot.

Mr WIAA saw a whole flock of waxwings in our garden the other day and got quite excited about it. I love these unexpected visitors to the garden - We've had pheasants but sadly never seen that most elusive of Scottish birds, the capercaillie. I suspect they are mythical creatures!

The Swede said...

Wow - I'd be very excited if we had waxwings in the garden too Alyson! We had a pheasant land in the garden several days in succession a couple of months ago (I assume it was the same one, we don't have a very large garden) and it always made me laugh. It seemed to wander around our confined space wondering how on Earth it had ended up here!
I only took the one (extremely optimistic) shot of our sparrowhawk friend and thought I had nothing, but a bit of cropping and zooming revealed her hiding away on the fence.

Charity Chic said...

It's Sparrowhawk City down your way!

C said...

'Sparrowhawk City' - sounds like a song title, CC!

Swiss Adam said...

We have some pigeons near here I can photograph and post if you like. Distinct lack of sparrowhawks.

Old Pa's Corner said...

Great shot TS, was about to say no but I saw a caterpiller, two spiders and a moth. But next pic rendered that pointless

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