Thursday, 11 September 2014

KESTREL VERSUS SPARROWHAWK

According to the Met Office we are now in the evening loosing three minutes of sunlight each day as we move into Autumn, so my after work visits to the quarry will get harder and harder to do.
Added a new bird to the site last night with a Snipe and Yellow Wagtails too.
The main star was two Sparrowhawks quite clearly working together to flush and hunt, one doing low level flushing whilst the other pouncing from above. The Kestrel was almost predated on one such attack. I have never seen this behaviour before and was quite relieved the Kestrel got away.
When I first got to the site I went to the log pile.


 Not over the moon with the green blob in the foreground of the Robin but loved the evening light so it has some merit,  but was slightly more happy with the Chiff-Chaff.

The Kingfisher was seen but was elusive, the two images below show how thick the vegetation is the first image being the "gap" I have to work with I'm a realist and it's dawning on me that a shot of it flying across the quarry floor is going to be the only option, clever me!


 Honestly there is water under the foliage still unsure what the bird us hunting here.

 I moved round to where the Kestrel and the Sparrowhawk would show up. The Kestrel was hunting working it's way towards me, sadly with it's back to me, I managed a few shots as it turned to move to another spot to hover, this was the best.
 The next shot is far from perfect and is what alerted me to the two Sparrowhawks as it dived and called for cover, I saw a male skimming the ground chasing the Kestrel I then saw something coming in from the left in the corner of my eye.
It was another Sparrowhawk coming in from high and at speed, the Kestrel was in trouble I thought.



 The one above and below are marginally different, the feet and tail! Marginal lol.
In some of the images you can see the nectating membrane on the eye. The pursuit was over quickly with the Kestrel beating a hasty retreat, it did show on the way home where I could see it had a silver id tag on it's foot/talon. Glad it got away. I "tweeted" how this particular Kestrel was sat with some Yellow Wagtails on the telephone cables.
The walk/ride home I got a ropey flight shot of a Great Spotted Woodpecker, it's a banker of what was recently a massive bogey bird for me and also got a distant Hare too.
I have done this post from my phone, so I hope all the images are viewable any issues please let me know.


15 comments:

  1. They are superb. No issues at all.
    I wonder how unusual it is for raptors to prey on each other?
    The Robins here think it's spring. There are all singing away in the sunshine.

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    1. Not as unusual as we might think, Eagle Owl's have been known to take Goshawk, I have seen a Peregrine try snatching a Hobby. But never seen two Sparrowhawks hunting together.
      It is nice to hear Robin's singing away especially as Autumn moves in, I think this one was claiming the wood pile as it's patch:-)

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  2. Great stuff Douglas with fine supporting images, lucky you to record the interaction between the Kestrel and the Sparrow Hawks !

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    1. I do get lucky with my raptors at times but to get two sprawk hunting together was fascinating to watch, they did try and flush smaller birds too.

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  3. Great shots Doug, and what an encounter to witness.

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    1. Thank you Keith, it was amazing I'm still thinking about what I saw yesterday.

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  4. Spraw images are amazing Doug, you sure are quick with that lens!

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    1. Thanks Paul, sometimes not quick enough lol

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  5. That's the wonder and beauty of nature Douglas, it has the potential to show us something new every day. And you've captured a cracking set of images (green blob accepted!) to round off the day...[;o)

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    1. Thanks Trevor, you're 100% right about the nature's ability to surprise us from time to time it makes me wonder how much we really know about nature and commit to books/programmes etc whilst really nature keeps evolving and changing.

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  6. A great set of images, and an interesting story too, Doug!! As Paul says, you're pretty quick on the draw with your photography - shows great skill and someone who's at one with their kit! I've had Sprawk work as a pair in my garden, but sadly not recorded with my camera. The Sparrows here tend to roost in a Rhododendron bush and this one time the two Sprawks arrived simultaneously with the male flying into one side of the bush and the female the other. It was done with military precision and gobsmacking to observe! The bush just exploded with fleeing sparrows! Sprawks can be rather partial to Lttle Owls - as can Buzzards.

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    1. I liked your tale of the sprawk the bit about military precision struck a chord as it's a perfection description to how the two at the quarry skulk around hunting in a precise manner. The Buzzard and Little Owl's are curious, the bird that causes my LO's a problem at the moment are Magpies

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  7. Really interesting Doug. Never saw that before either. Great images

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    1. Thanks Mark, these two sprawk are displaying some behaviour I have never seen nor read about. Very odd.

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    2. HI Douglas What am amazing experience to witness and photograph with these 2 raptors. I love the Robin shots and the way you are caught him. I have just returned from a 6 week trip from Malawi and S. Africa and have thousands of photos which will take me weeks to edit and process but willl get them eventually on my blog. Hope you are well and have had a good summer.

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