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On Thursday I showed you many of the lovely birds I had seen at Forest Farm Nature Reserve the previous week but I left out two of them, the male and female Sparrowhawk I saw several times during my meanderings.

171209 sparrowhawk (3)

The Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nissus) is a bird of prey and it was easy to tell when this pair was near by as all the other birds froze, no movement, no sound. A hawker of sparrows it may be but, as Buczacki points out in Fauna Britannica, they could just as easily be called finchhawk, larkhawk or tithawk ‘because this bird really is a scourge of small feathered things’. That sounds like bad news for the smaller birds but, interestingly, the RSPB reports that ‘long term scientific studies have shown that sparrowhawks generally have no or little impact on songbird populations’. (Read more here.)

I only managed to get distant fuzzy photos (above) of the male bird, with his distinctive blue-grey back and wings, but my shots of the female are a little better. I’ve seen Sparrowhawks many times before but have not had views as close as these, and they were magnificent to watch as they flew at high speed through the thick spreading branches in the woodland by the canal.

171209 sparrowhawk (4)