Wednesday, December 3, 2008

After making 2 new nestboxes using my new 'workstation' (it's great!), the weather changed from cold and dull to cold and bright! It was that low slanting winter sun that can be very lovely, so I thought that's enough carpentry it's time to see my birds!
I explored an area to put a new hide to make the most of late in the day mid-winter sun. It will just be a small 1- person hide but will allow new, different shooting opportunities, not just for students but for me as well; I think it pushes your skills to try new areas and set-ups.
Once that was done and having fed the birds, I sat, had a coffee and watched them. One interesting sight was a female sparrowhawk gliding past with prey in talons closely followed a couple of metres behind by another female sparrowhawk. I would say that the second was clearly following the first because of the prey but the 1st didn't seem overly concerned or evasive . This raises a couple of questions; was this a case of klepto-parasitism (nicking another birds food) or was the second a relative of the 1st and was hoping to beg a share? Either I would say is unusual as normally sparrowhawks are solitary except in the breeding season and this is a behaviour that I have never seen before. Watching sparrowhawks is very difficult as their very nature is 'stealth' and as such an overview of sparrowhawk behaviour is normally grasped by tiny snapshots of witnessed events that just grow the more you see them. I would also add that the more you are out in woodland and the more alert you are to any warnings of a sparrowhawk approach the more you see them, however briefly.

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