Sunday, 9 May 2010

A Raptor Comes Visiting but Leaves Empty Taloned

I have waited a long time to get a photograph of one of the visiting raptors which frequent the garden from time to time. When I went to the kitchen to make a cuppa I had a quick glance round the garden as I always do. Down the end of the garden partly hidden behind the greenhouse was a Female Sparrowhawk perched on an old wooden frame. At least I hope it is a Female Sparrowhawk.

Female Sparrowhawk?

Not the sharpest of photos but at least I got some shots this time. So as not to scare her away I stayed as far back in the kitchen as I could. I think the sight of a wrinkly pointing a 400mm zoom lens right next to the window would have made her depart rapidly.

Female Sparrowhawk?

She stayed for a short while looking at all the places she knew there should be small birds feeding but as can be expected there was not a sight or sound of the usual visitors.

Female Sparrowhawk?

It seemed to be unusual to see a hunting bird perched less than 6 feet (2m) from the ground. I managed to get half a dozen shots before she took off for pastures new. The one thing which surprised me was how small she was. Somehow I had expected a bird of prey to be larger. To give an idea of her size the horizontal piece of wood in the background is about two inches (24mm) high.

If you are interested and haven't had a look yet at the Peregrine Falcon chicks on Derby Cathedral I think their site is worth a visit. They are very recently hatched and the video of the parent bird being so gentle while feeding the chicks is a sight for sore eyes. It's not too gory and can be seen HERE.


I was only wondering yesterday whether the local Heron had survived the weeks of frozen water in the past winter. Well, I did see one this morning weaving round the sky being hotly pursued by three Rooks.

12 comments:

  1. Cracking sight to see John. Captured her beautifully too. That stare in the second; glad I'm not a small bird lol

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  2. It is Keith and can be quite unnerving when they look straight at you with those large piercing eyes.

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  3. Beautiful captures, John! When I had a male visit, I too was struck by how relatively small they are and of course the female is bigger! Those eyes really are piercing and I know they have to eat too but I couldn't help being glad she left empty taloned :)

    I have just caught up with the 'Sumo Wrestling' and think you were spot on with that analogy! I was surprised just how aggressive they are.

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  4. Thank you Jan. I felt the same way, hoping she would make her catch elsewhere.

    The hogs don't pull their punches do they.

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  5. Terrific photos John... we sometimes get sparrowhawks passing through our garden but I've never been quick-witted enough to photograph one...

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  6. Thank you Phil. I was very lucky this time as it stayed for a few minutes and didn't seem to notice me. I have a feeling it was resting after missing a kill.

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  7. Brilliant images John.

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  8. She is a looking little thing, isn't she? Great photos. I caught sight of a sharp-shinned hawk flying over our bird feeders last weekend. I doubt that I will ever be able to get a shot of it, though.

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  9. Thank you Roy. I was lucky it stayed long enough to take a few shots.

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  10. Hello Wilma. Unless you are a small bird they are lovely to look at. I never though I would get a clear photo as all the previous visits have been very fleeting. There is always hope.

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Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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