Sunday, 1 June 2008


Setting things up for a barbecue last night (asparagus, garlic mushrooms, loin of muntjac with juniper, rosemary and sour cherry jam marinade, in case you were wondering!) we heard a small commotion in a plum tree that grows in the corner of the garden, about 5 metres from where we were. A bit like a pigeon making a clumsy landing, the way they often do. We couldn't see what it was, but the next moment, something quite big flew around our side of the tree and disappeared directly away from us. It was carrying something sparrow-sized and squeaking in its talons. No question, it had to be a sparrowhawk, though the victim could have been any small songbird, as all I could see was the silhouette.

We've been spotting sparrowhawks around Royston for several years, but this was the first such close encounter. We were both delighted to have such a beautiful bird hunting in our garden, and appalled at the consequences. I don't think the victim was one of the blue tits nesting in the column of the patio, as it was a bit big for that. Hope not, as the young haven't fledged yet. But it could easily have been one of the friendly robins that join us when we're gardening. Or one of the great tits that fledged a couple of weeks ago.


Jane.Dudman said...

Nothing to do with sparrowhawks, but after that conversation last night about grooming circles, I came across this very interesting blog:

You and Lorna were right - 150 people is about maximum. It's fascinating stuff and it looks as though what blogs do isn't expand the numbers, but replace more random acquaintances with relationships where people have more in common - replacing geography with ideology

Rob Clack said...

Wow! I need to read that again, but it seems really interesting. It must be relevant to why I ducked out of Facebook after a short time, but I skimmed through it rather too quickly to be really sure.

ArcticFox said...

back onto the sparrowhawk... sounds exciting.... I was happy enough to be doing a bit of weeding today in the garden, and the black birds didn't notice me crouched behind the wall and flew right down beside me.... idiots!! They didn't seem too phased to find me there.... just skirted round me a bit... well, who wouldn't?

I imagine the prey was a fledgling.... They don't have the canny sense and skills that the older birds possess.

Well spotted though.


PS: hope your barbecue was a good one too.

DJ Kirkby said...

Wow, what a gorgeous bird! Must say the same for your BBQ menu also...yuuuuhuum!

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Sounds a yummy barbecue Rob, ours was just a touch more ordinary - but still tasty. Shame about the baby bird - but I guess that's life. M :-(