A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Thursday, 15 March 2018

Hooptedoodle #296 - Suddenly Things Went Quiet

The weather has eased a lot over the last week, but today it is blustery, from the East, and the temperature is dropping again. The feeders are very busy - today's crowds included lots of Great Tits, Greenfinches, a Siskin, and then...

Bad Baddie in the garden - Accipiter nisus - female Sparrow Hawk (hungry; disgruntled)
We are always nervously aware of these fellows - you don't normally see them clearly, but sometimes out of the corner of your eye you see a flash of something, and a puff of feathers, and one of the smaller birds has gone. There is a slight feeling of setting up a buffet for the Sparrow Hawk when we restock the feeders, but we don't see much of them and that's Nature, I guess.

This is a rare view. The Contesse spotted this female sitting in our apple tree, and it was still there when she got back with her camera. We suspect that it's sulking, mentally reviewing what went wrong with that last attack.

You win some, and then you lose some.


***** Late Edit (Friday night, 16th March) *****

M. Le Poilu sent me this fine picture of Omar, his former local Sparrow Hawk kingpin - shows up well how much more colourful the males are (Merci, M. Le P)


And my wife passed me this rather horrifying confrontation between a Sparrow Hawk and a Starling, which is from the very fine work of Terry Stevenson, a British wildlife photographer with a large and deserved following. Sorry if this spoils your enjoyment of your supper...


12 comments:

  1. We have on that patrols our village , I keep coming across little patches of feathers from it's victims .

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    1. Normally we see evidence of their being around, but not the birds themselves. We also have buzzards and owls who must cause havoc in the woods behind the house, but it's all very discreet and tidy.

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  2. They are handsome birds though. We have quite a few of the larger Hawks around but they are as or more likely to dine on rodents which makes them sort of 'the enemy of my enemy' though that's a bit strong as I have nothing against rodents who don't chew holes in my house and make an awful mess,

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    1. We sort of pretend that the hawks pick off the weaker garden birds, thus strengthening the breed, etc etc. Of course it's all nonsense, though I suppose that the corollary might be that the most incompetent predators will starve to death.

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    2. A few months ago I was waiting at traffic lights at the intermittent road work that infects our village from time to time when a sparrowhawk brought down a pigeon on the road in front of me. A pigeon! It was as big as the hawk and probably heavier. The raptor must have been really hungry.
      It didn't even leave its kill when the lights changed - it just gave me 'the look' (see above) and I had to steer round it.

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    3. It had probably already clocked that the traffic lights were on a seven minute cycle, and had picked the right size of pigeon for the time available.

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    4. I've seen one of these hawks take a pigeon before. A massive splat on my mother's dining room window, and when I went out to investigate I saw the hawk struggling to take off with its stunned prey which was nearly as big as itself. It made it too. Just.

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  3. Hi Foy, remember Wellington's advice to Queen Victoria on dealing with the bird problem inside the Great Exhibition after the use of Foot Guards musketry was ruled out on account of the damage to the plate glass - "Sparrow hawks Ma'am"

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    1. Very sound - did someone actually propose the musketry option? I smell a rat - this person must have had family in the glazing trade. Anyway - Wellington was a smart chap.

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  4. A few years ago, we had a sparrowhawk visitor to our street. We called him Omar after the character in "The Wire", played by Michael K Williams, who would empty a street after a lockout would call "Omar he comin"

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    1. These things have a big presence - you can sense them rather than see them. Certainly the soundtrack in the garden changes dramatically.

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    2. Thank you for the picture of Omar - I shall insert an appropriate edit to include him.

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