Monday, November 21, 2005

Rule #1...

ice, ice baby

... when going for a walk at lunchtime, always take your binoculars with you.

Today, I had my camera with me but no bins - a terrible mistake. On a post-lunch potter around, Mark and I were watching birds at the feeders by the pond. There was a chorus of high-pitched alarm calls when the gaggle of Great, Coal and Blue Tits scattered - a male Sparrowhawk buzzed them and, having failed to catch anything, went off to sit in a tree.

Now the small birds knew he was there, there was probably no point in making another hunting attempt anytime soon, so the Sparrowhawk went off to the next pond (about 30m away) for a bath (yes, even in cold weather, most birds bathe every day - which is more than can be said for most humans).

Under normal weather conditions, that would have been fine, except the pond was frozen. The hawk seemed unable to comprehend this. From a distance, we watched him fly from one edge of the pond to the other, baffled by the lack of water at either.

Though it was a really interesting piece of bird behaviour, it would have been so much more enjoyable if we'd been able to see properly...


photo taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

1 comment:

  1. I had a close encounter with a female sparrowhawk yesterday afternoon. She was attempting a surprise attack on a couple of blackbirds and flew right past me. Her attack wasn't successful!

    Sparrowhawks seem to get very bold in winter. I suppose it's desperation - there's so little daylight time for hunting.