Wednesday, 5 March 2014


To one side of our house, just over a drystone wall, there's a large thicket of brambles, bracken and sundry other weeds which, when it dies back in winter, forms an ideal place for small birds to hide while they keep an eye on the feeding stations at the front of the house.  The birds, like this dunnock, feel very secure in it.... the extent that they think that, if they stay very, very still, they really won't be seen.  This young female blackbird was so convinced of her invisibility that she allowed me to approach to within a couple of feet to take this picture.

The trouble is that the small birds aren't the only ones who've learnt the hiding possibilities of this thicket.  Our sparrowhawk, who's been hunting along the front of the house all winter, has taken to sitting in the same places as the small birds and staying there with his mouth wide open, rather like Tom in the Tom and Jerry cartoon, waiting for lunch to fly into it.

We've seen a lot of him recently.  His normal hunting schedule is to fly east-west along the length of Ormsaigbeg, dodging along the walls and hedges, and bouncing over and around the trees, hoping to surprise a meal.  If he's unsuccessful, he flies a lazy route back towards Kilchoan, higher in the air, knowing that the small birds will have seen him and be lying low for some time.  Sitting and waiting for lunch to come to him is a new ploy.

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