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.
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?
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.