As I feed the birds there is always bird song in the garden. They don't show any fear of me or Stan and carry on at the feeders even when I'm quite close
As I busied myself changing over the plants in the tubs by the big pond to the sound of bird song
I suddenly realised there were no birds and no bird song. I looked around and finally spotted the reason. Can you see him at the back of the arch seat.
A closer look with the zoom
It's a young sparrowhawk that visits once a week. An ambush hunter, he will hide until he spots his prey and then launch himself to catch them. He's learning his trade and misses more than he catches but he looks healthy enough so must be doing OK. We used to have a huge female visit who I assume was his mother. They came together a few months ago but we haven't seen her since
She was a prolific hunter who also wasn't that bothered about us being in the garden. My closest encounter with her was when I was pegging out washing and she dropped off the shed roof after a sparrow. She flew so close to me that I felt her wings brush my cheek. It was one of hose moments I felt very blessed.
I know, as I've seen the letters in the gardening/wildlife magazines that many people don't like these birds as they take the "pretty" birds. Some people are even calling for them to be shot. I am not part of this. I love my sparrowhawks. Yes they take the birds out of the garden, but that's nature for you. Somedays they win and somedays, like yesterday, they go away empty handed. I feel extremely privileged to have them hunt in my garden.