One of the great pleasures of writing this blog is when a reader who has visited West Ardnamurchan sends in some exceptional pictures and is kind enough to allow me to publish them. I am therefore very grateful to Peter Kleinegris for these pictures of the sparrowhawk which visits his garden.
This beautiful bird has been visiting Peter's garden for about a year and has, for the same period, been doing what the species was named as doing - catching sparrows. There used to be some twenty sparrows in the rose bush next to the shed on which the sparrowhawk perches, now there are about ten.
Peter lives in the village of Leersum, population 7,000, which is situated between the cities Utrecht and Arnhem. It's an area of woodlands, farmland and water, an ideal habitat for sparrows - and sparrowhawks.
Peter describes the bird's latest visit thus: "When the sparrowhawk came visiting last week I took my camera and made a few pictures and cautiously approached to take a few more. She watched me come closer but didn't feel disturbed at all. She actually let me come so close I could almost touch her. The bird stayed in the garden for about five hours before she took off and left me to clean the leftovers."
Many thanks to Peter for letting me publish these pictures. There are more pictures of the sparrowhawk on Peter's Picasa site here, and some great pictures from his 2012 visit to Ardnamurchan here.