Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Garden Gore

The troublesome tail end of Stella has meant a week of enforced inactivity for yours truly. The local ban on ringing due to Avian Flu is now lifted but the wind and rain of recent days has given no opportunity for ringing or birding. 

In my own garden and those of close neighbours there’s been a Chiffchaff, a singing Mistle Thrush, a calling Tawny Owl, a steady stream of Goldfinches, plus a number of Dunnocks chasing around. 


Tawny Owl

More showers this morning, and as I typed away, Sue reported a killing taking place on the back lawn. 

From the bedroom window I saw that an adult female Sparrowhawk had just collared a Collared Dove and was in the process of finishing off the job by sinking its talons into the dove's flesh. A Collared Dove is a large bird and at the top end of the list of prey sizes a female Sparrowhawk can handle. 

After a minute or so the Sparrowhawk flew with it now dead prey to the quieter end of the garden and where in the shelter of the trees for the next fifteen minutes it would take its meal. The bottom of the garden near the trees and the fence can be pretty gloomy in the rain and cloud so I switched to ISO1000. 




A Sparrowhawk plucks its prey before it can eat the meat. By the end of its meal the Sparrowhawk's crop was noticeably bulging from eating a whole Collared Dove. The hawk flew off carrying the carcass and  left a pile of feathers only as evidence.







Remains of a Sparrowhawk meal

The weather forecast is slightly better for Friday/Saturday. Let’s hope there’s some birding or ringing by then. If so read about it here. In the meantime, don’t forget to keep an eye out for garden birds.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday and Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


Linda said...

Beautiful photos of all these birds, Phil. Sad about the dove, but that is just part of nature. Thank you so much for sharing.

Stuart Price said...

Nice photos Phil. My parents sometimes get Sparrowhawks in their garden too............

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Stella seemed to affect a lot of places. I love your Tawny Owl.
That Sparrowhawk sure is a messy eater. Awesome photos. Have a happy day!

Les Fous du Cap said...

Très belle proximité avec l'oiseau le temps d'un repas ;-)
Céline & Philippe

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) It's lovely to see your varied garden visitors, love the Tawny Owl, and my thanks to Sue for advising you on the presence of the Sparrow Hawk, and to you for the amazing captures you were able to take. The poor Collard dove made a hearty meal!

By the way Phil, I knew nothing about my book, until my granddaughter Sara gave it to me as a Christmas present. A lovey surprise and a treasured gift.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

An amazing sequence to observe, Phil. I have seen birds of prey capture their quarry often enough, but I have rarely been able to witness the whole sequence. Not bad for a rainy, miserable day that kept you housebound.

Prunella Pepperpot said...

Amazing shots of the sparrowhawk in your garden.
I'm sure the feathers will be used for some nice soft nesting material by some of your other wonderful garden visitors.
Have a lovely week, hopefully not too wet and windy :)

Breathtaking said...

Thank you Phil!:) Americo and I will be leaving soon for the warmer sunnier climes of the Algarve, where we will stay a month or so, and hopefully I should feel better. It can't come soon enough for me as the weather here is so unsettled and it's damp and raining at the moment. We leave on the 9th of April.

A Colorful World said...

The doves in AZ used to fall prey to the hawks who were around from time to time. At first I assumed they were loose cat kills and then slowly came to realize the hawks were having an occasional feast. You got some great pictures of this beauty! Too bad for the dove, but that's the way of nature, of course. Glad you can get out and do some banding again!

A Colorful World said...

Hope my comment posted...

Felicia said...

love the owl. so sad for the dove, but tis the way of life.

Lea said...

Sorry about the Dove, but Hawks have to eat, too! Great photos!

Stewart M said...

Nature in the raw - great set of pictures.

Is the Avian flu ban to protect ringers or birds?

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Jenn Jilks said...

Your sparrow hawk looks like my sharp-shinned!

The cycle of life is fascinating!!!!

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Good to know you have seen a Chiffchalf this year and I love the series of shots of the Sparrowhawk,

sandyland said...

amazing chain of life

Rajesh said...

Beautiful shots. I like the sequence of shots sparrowhawk.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Can't feel too sorry for your enforced homestay since you get these wonderful backyard pictures. (Not to sound too coldblooded, but although a bit gory, the sparrowhawk sequence really is quite wonderful). On the video cam recordings I've watched the Bald Eagle pair teach their babies how to defeather an egret (pretty large prey even for eagles). They have to work a little harder than they do when the catch of the day is a fish. And it is almost like they are teaching their offspring how to do it because they might not always have a place to live where the fishing is easy.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, Awesome post and bird photos. the Sparrowhawk is a handsome bird. I appreciate you linking up your post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and the new week ahead!

Lowcarb team member said...

Some great photo's here Phil.
I love the Tawny Owl.

All the best Jan

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