Monday, 8 October 2012
A few years ago a sparrowhawk trying to pick up breakfast from my bird table misjudged the terrain which is higher than the level of the bird table just a few metres away. After missing its intended prey it crash-landed into the astilbes in the garden and took a few seconds to recover from its surprise and fly off. It all happened half a dozen metres from where I was standing and so quickly that I didn't have time to get my camera.
Today, as I stepped out of the shower, my phone was ringing and the cellphone (it doesn't stop telling me a text has arrived until I acknowledge it) was indicating the arrival of several texts. I walked through to the kitchen where the phones were and saw a sleekit white cat which I detest from up the township (who's owner proudly tells me that it catches at least one bird or animal every day) stalking something which was obviously only a yard or so away. As I was about to hammer on the window I realised that there was a young sparrowhawk just outside with its back to the cat. What happened then happened within a few milliseconds. The sparrowhawk saw the cat and turned and flew off right in front of me. Whether it had been successful in catching something I don't know but if it had been then it managed to take it with it.
As I was typing the last paragraph I realised why the sparrows have not been back to the table since that happened 4 or more hours ago: the sparrowhawk is still on patrol - I have just seen him again.
The sparrows now have much more cover than they did a few years ago because I've grown lots of bushes into which they disappear in the garden.
A few days ago I also hit on the idea of putting the bird feeder into the bird table area protected from the pigeons because they had managed t overcome every obstacle I'd used to stop them hooving out the seed from the feeders. The pigeons will not give up but this time I'm fairly certain that I've won!