My local Mr&Mrs Sparrowhawk is keeping me entertained of late, I haven't even taken an image of them yet, but I'm witnessing some fantastic and curious behaviour.
Last night I had both male and female birds glide onto a very high perch and watched the pair, now I was hardly hiding in fact I had my trusted greyhound with me, the male starred at the two of us for ages, the female was just preening, their arrival hardly stealthy with all the woodpigeons fleeing their roosting site upon their arrival, every time a wood pigeon came close to what looks like the signs of their nesting site it would chase them off, but not in the manner I'm used to seeing them, it had no attention of folding it's wings back and snatching for them, it just had it's wing outstretched and glided in a circle flushing the pigeons away. Eventually it flew off just leaving the female, I just sat and watched the female preening itself, woodpigeons arrived and I thought "you're going to be a snack soon", BUT oddly they weren't, in fact several were sat in the same tree as the female, one brave/stupid individual was on the same branch within two feet of the female sparrowhawk, who just sat there motionless and uninterested....."SPARROWHAWKS ARE BLOOD THIRSTY PESTS" is one of those quotes sprouted my "know-nothing" raptor haters, they're clearly not watching the scene I'm witnessing...idiots. She may have just fed, and judging from all the pigeon feathers they could well be on their diet, however I haven't found angel-wings yet so they could just easily be from the local foxes. However the male then returns with a Starling, it's sat in the opposite tree and places the kill on the branch, it falls to the ground, I decide to leave so it has a chance of retrieving it's kill before the crows and magpies steal it, I'm just going to keep an eye on the pair for now and once the nest starts to take form leave them be, they've bred here for the last three years now (this being the fourth), last year with the terrible weather it only fledged two youngsters (I found one dead on the main road, hit by car) and the female was constantly calling the male, really loud....so now a lot of people "know" about it and when I was looking around the site I found that on the tree where the female was perched, on a tree right next to it was a series of nails going up the trunk of the tree, it has made me slightly suspicious, the nails are VERY BIG, they have a square body to them. They had been nailed three abreast and remind me of those old telegraph poles with the metal hand/foot grips in the way they had been place right up the trunk. So this evening I took my dog and hammer, climbed approximately 12 foot up the tree (see what I mean)...all 17 stone of me!! and pulled out 72 nails..all gone. Could just be a coincidence but I don't like coincidences, safer then sorry, it could be kids setting up a rope swing or something, I shall have keep a discreet eye on the site for now.
So images that never made it into a post last month for various reasons, even though some aren't perfect I like them enough to share, seeming as I waffled on for an age about Sparrowhawks I had better start there.