Not only is it persisting down today my garden is once again blighted by persistent attacks from this female Sparrowhawk. Now I like to see birds but don't really have the huge fascination for birds of prey that many hold. They can sometimes just be a pest although the media blame game making them responsible for the demise of song birds is I believe is grossly overstated. Lets control (keep them in or restricted to their own garden NOT kill them) a few cats first and see what difference that makes.
Anyhoo I wouldn't mind so much if the wretched bird would give up some decent photo opportunities but no, it flashes through and straight into cover or perches behind a convenient branch. The shot above is the best I've managed in two weeks and I don't want the opportunity to be it sitting atop prey. Actually it doesn't seem to be that successful and I've only seen evidence of two kills in the last few months. Yesterday it was certainly hungry. It sat in a bush on the far side of the paddock at the bottom of my garden waiting for the arrival of my Sparrow flock which spend most of the day in a Berberis or their Leylandii roost in the front garden. As Sparrows Finches and Tits fed it drops out of the bush and flies low alongside the hedge up the side of the paddock. I've learnt not to give warning as this puts birds in the air making them more vulnerable. I had a hawk a few years ago that I'm sure waited each morning for me to fill up the feeders and attacked the birds I disturbed.
Low fast flight, it rises over the fence at the bottom of the garden and then banks left or right depending on what its eye catches. There's plenty of cover in my jungle so the feeding birds dive in and the hawk then sits near the feeders waiting for birds to return but never giving clear camera shot. Once things have settled I normally flush it by opening the back window but yesterday after being flushed it did another run. Firstly into the conifer tree and then into the conifer hedge, on both occassions without success. Then the Jackdaws got their eye on it a drove it off.
Later whilst working at my drawing board the hawk re-appeared just ten feet away on the back roof. We looked at each other the bright yellow eyes and legs most striking. (I wonder what it thought of my bearded visage?). Just like a similar meeting on the Carr two weeks ago I could neither reach for the camera fast enough to catch it nor slow enough to avoid flushing it. Another opportunity missed!