Bad BAD day

Until 3.40pm all was normal. That is to say I had nothing to contribute to the blog for the day. I was sitting watching, eagle-eyed for any sign of action. The usual garden traffic was moving about. I had a birdbath shot in reserve if nothing should show up. Lulu was asleep and the afternoon watch (no dog watch this) was dwindling to a glowing ember when flash, bang wallop, ooh, missed the picture………….. What a photograph (that would have been). It wasn’t Tommy Steele who sped through the garden but a Crested Goshawk, an absolutely gorgeous little raptor that sadly for the local avian residents likes nothing more than a munch on a bulbul for its afternoon snack. Chinese or Red-whiskered, it is agnostic. Have feathers, will munch.

When I say through the garden that is not quite accurate. The bird landed, And this was the view I had.

CGNot exactly a photo that Tommy would urge you to “stick it in your family, al-bum!” As in all the best quiz shows we now go to “What happened next?”

The short answer is that the goshawk crashed out of the bush and into the hedge. Accipiters have rounded wings that help them manoeuvre in tight spaces. Suddenly small birds were flying in all directions. The noise was deafening. Only a second or two later the goshawk was through the hedge and landing in a tree on the far side of the communal garden, out of sight. I never saw it again. I have no idea whether any of the small birds went to meet their maker. For two or three minutes the birds all sat around the garden, most up high, like a crowd surrounding a soccer pitch, shouting “Send him off, ref!” “Boo, foul play”. “Oooh, what a dirty tackle. You could see his studs.” Unfortunately the ref had also beaten a tactical retreat. Then the noise abated. The birds flew. Match over. Time to go.

And so it stayed for almost 15 minutes. Then the first call. A Tailorbird. Others followed. By 4pm life was returning to normal, unless of course you were the bird caught in the Blitzkrieg. Did I count them all out and count them all back again? I am afraid not. So whether one bird less returned I cannot say. I saw no tears shed so maybe not. And that is bird of the day.

Of course you don’t get much sense of what the Crusty Goshawk looks like from a shot of its bum so I applied the Blue Peter Principle again and asked Val to provide me with one made out of sticky-backed plastic and toilet roles. I think she did quite a good job, don’t you?

Crested Goshawk


No frowsy bird, this one. Sleek. Immaculately turned out. But a hardened killer. A real pro. And today he pulled a job right in front of me and I didn’t get a proper photo. Flash, bang, wallop it was. Too good for me, our BAD bird.



17 thoughts on “Bad BAD day

  1. Spectacularoddelong from Val. Maybe you need to set up some of those security cams they always refer to in crime shows CCTVs.
    I know I asked for habitat in the images but this shot has rather overfilled my shopping cart.
    Enjoyed the story of the action and silent aftermath. It’s harsh. But a fellows got to eat.
    Great Bad Bad day

      • Rod, I spent ages looking up “Spectacularoddelong” in the dictionary. I eventually tried it in Google Translate, set to “detect language” and it came up with “spectacular modelling” in Geordie. Noting defeats us bloggers.

  2. Stately bird. I love-em and hate-em- hawks and owls to be precise. I had to stop putting out food for the birds. A hawk- not sure if it is the Red-shouldered, Cooper’s or Sharp-shinned. has been picking up, mainly the doves.

    I just know hawks are around for I hear the crows chasing them.. I see the pile of dove feathers after hearing the doves burst into flight after the dive-bomber attack.

    • Its a very two-edged sword, having birds of prey around, I agree. They are wonderful to watch but it is rather sad to see the pile of feathers they leave behind. Mind you one of our neighbours has a cat and I suspect that is also taking a few if not more than the goshawk.

  3. I think Val did a fantastic job Andrew, 😉 and what a sight, even though most of him was covered by the shrubbery. Still chuckling from the football chants. (having said many of them myself, even some heated words to send off the ref during a miserable blow through his decision against Man U. Cry foul !! ) xPenx

    • Heated words? You, Pen? I can’t believe it. Man U always get the ref on their side – they were terrified of Sir A. I was trying to explain to someone recently why Man C used to have a “Chinese” player called Lee Wun Pen. Dear old Franny Lee. Couldn’t stay on his feet in the box and the Sundays papers always had him down as the scorer: Lee (1 pen). Best diver in football. Allegedly.

  4. Full marks to the Blue Peter team for their creativity and hard work with sticky back plastic and toilet rolls – fabulous photo, Andrew. He is so handsome with his stripy vest on but there’s no mistaking that look in his eye, he’s out to ruffle a few feathers. I once saw a peregrine falcon chase a swallow and kill it. The swallow was shrieking as the falcon chased it unmercifully through the air – it was fascinating to watch the skill and speed of the raptor but also quite painful to witness the demise of a poor swallow. I guess that’s nature for you.

  5. Great story, interesting picture!. I was nearly hit by a sparrow-hawk a few weeks ago as he/she ambushed someone smaller across our garden.

  6. Holy Spectacularoddelong, that is one handsome accipiter, Andrew. And very accommodating too, posing on that post for the shoot. Gifted modeler that one. Not sure which is scarier….the talons or that hooked beak.:O

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