August 10, 2011

One of those mornings in Brampton. Two sightings of birds which were distinctly out of place. The unmistakeable, whirring shape and arrow like flight of a Kingfisher. It caught me out somewhat – we were walking along the railway line and at least 400 yards away from the river as the bird flew towards Dudwick. A flash of turquoise blue confirmed it’s identity.

A little further round and the scything wings of the Hobby shot between the Church and Brampton Hall. Travelling at speed at roof height – as when I last saw one in the village back in June – this small falcon almost seems to leave an electrical charge in the air in its wake. Such speed leaves you wondering whether you had actually seen it or not.

Then, as we sat over a cup of coffee upon our return, there was a rush of wings and a cloud of feathers in the garden as a female Sparrowhawk struck a Collared Dove. Both disappeared towards Street Farm at such speed that we were unable to see how this ended.

Later on, the Roe Doe accompanied by two fauns grazed quietly on the margins of the wheat field. All watched us carefully from what they felt to be a safe distance.

Hunting Sparrows

May 14, 2011

The Sparrowhawk and I almost collided opposite the Village Hall. He was intent on his prey and I was walking along the Street in a minding-my-own-business sort of way. The flight path of a hunting Sparrowhawk is a contour hugging race which is based upon hit and run instincts. This time he failed, after narrowly missing me and he disappeared with equal pace through the Bowery garden. I say he because it was clearly a tiercel – the male is much smaller than the female – and is more likely to be after the village Sparrows than his mate.

Yesterday evening I spotted a pair of Sparrowhawks emerging and soaring out of the Keeper’s Wood in a sort of nuptial display – perhaps I met one of the pair again this morning.

Winter kill

December 25, 2010

A female Sparrowhawk (or Spar) has taken up residency in the cutting. She has been there for several days. Presumably because her favoured prey species, various finches, are gathered along the berry- rich thickets which predominate along this stretch.

I say female because of its size, the male (or Musket) would be considerably smaller. This morning she effortlessly shook off the unwanted attentions of a mobbing Carrion crow before flashing through the hedgeline and disappearing. Yesterday she was glimpsed as she shot away with a rapid climbing flight from a perch on a fencepost. The day before she had left the clear signs of one of her victims in the footpath – a trademark circle of blood and feathers and a visible clawed footprint.