Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Swift and the Sparrowhawk

This would have been a very mundane little walk tonight, on a pleasant if not spectacular evening, with just some pretty pictures of the dandelion clocks on the Devon Pastures, if it wasn't for a couple of spectacular avian encounters I had after I'd done my 2km trot through the park.

I'd just emerged onto Farndon Road, when I looked up to see a small bird being pursued by a raptor of some kind at very high speed. Abruptly the bird performed a handbrake 180 in the air, and its pursuer made a sort of desperate upward lunge to try and take it in its talons.

It missed.

With insane reflexes, it immediately lunged at another bird - a swift - which similarly escaped by pulling a scything, slicing turn and heading back where it came, at which point the would be killer settled itself down and slowly flapped off along the River Devon. I decided from its long tail and broadish, fingered wings that it was a sparrowhawk, although it was silhouetted against a low bright sun. 

Immediately afterwards, I went past the cob horse field and noticed a bird alight on a tree stump. At first I thought it was a thrush before I realised it was way too big; then it made a leap at a blackbird feeding nearby. It was a kestrel, although seemingly such a rubbish one said blackbird carried on happily feeding even after it had side stepped the attack.

Finally, although three is more than a couple, I had the pleasure of a close range head high encounter with a swift as it blasted past me before finding its way into a gap less than an inch high in the eaves of a nearby house. They've only been home a couple of weeks, so I'm guessing this is nest building rather than rearing, but I could be wrong. 

So good to see them nesting!


A lovely evening


Devon Reflections

What time is it?

Willow tree

Devon Pasture

Buttercups unfurl


Cow parsley

Me in the river, at the lock



  1. Great encounters - good to know the ontended prey escaped, though I know predators need to feed, and are all part of the great scheme of things! We've had swifts flying around at speed over the last coule of days too.

  2. Neither swifts nor buttercups have arrived here yet, more's the pity/

  3. THe swifts seem to have taken the day off, just when I was planning to photograph them!