Another new bird for the year list, a Sparrowhawk almost hit me in the face, okay it was about 60 centimetres away, but for something moving at such speed it seemed very close.
How I got to the point of having a sparrowhawk 2 feet away from me; there were few birds in the garden, just 1 blackbird so I thought better take the dog out and check if there’s a cat lurking in the back undergrowth as there often is. The dog went crazy sniffing the ground and it was obvious to him that a cat had just been there, but I didn’t see it, about half a minute passed and the tinkle of the cat’s bell over a neighbours fence gave it away (good on the owner for putting a bell on it) and the dog went into a quick barking fit, then all fell very silent, still no birds and the cat was away. I bent over to pick-up some litter that had blown into the garden and as I stood up there in my face was a sparrowhawk coming straight at me, it changed just before collision. Well what seemed like a collision point to me, to it I’m sure it felt it had hours to divert it’s course.
This is only the second time I’ve seen a sparrowhawk in the garden, first for this year, last time it was hunting and not in a way I’d seen sparrowhawks hunt before it was actually going to ground then entering the dogwood shrub that is next to one of the feeders and flushing birds out that way, instead of circling the shrub or hedge and getting the birds to fly out. I was surprised at how well it went into the hedge, I got some video footage but it was on a small digital camera and rather rubbish as due to my cerebral palsy I shake so much. The other thing I noticed that day was how different the small birds alarm call was to when they see a cat, they obviously have a different call for sparrowhawk than they do cat predators.
Here’s a list of the 9 different species I’ve seen today, the Magpies are back in decent numbers, not as many as on Christmas day but they’re being just as noisy:
- Blackbird x 2
- Blue Tit x 2
- Bullfinch x 1 (male)
- Chaffinch x 1
- Coal Tit x 2
- Dunnock x 1
- Herring Gull x 1 (flying over)
- Magpie x 11
- Sparrowhawk x 1