Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A brief encounter with the cemetery Sparrowhawks

Male Sparrowhawk, Rosary Cemetery, Norwich
The cemetery is at its leafy overgrown best as I walk up the hill through a green tunnel and past the terraced rows of Victorian gravestones many now draped in Ivy and surrounded by Bramble patches. The leafy green is now losing its early spring freshness and even the Ox eye Daisy's look a little tired today.

An insistent screeching call alerts me to the presence of the local Sparrowhawks and I pause to take stock. I've seen them in this corner of the cemetery before and have often suspected that they have a nest here. Excitedly my mind quickly goes over the possibility that they have nested here and if I am hearing recently fledged young soliciting food from their parents.

I stand still and scan the large Copper Beech and Oak in front of me. Then there she is a female Sparrowhawk flies out of the Oak and out of sight and yet still the insistent screeching call continues. I squint through the gently swaying branches and there he is a male Sparrowhawk standing on a thick horizontal oak bough and clasping a unidentifiable prey item in his talons, presumably to entice the female to come and see him should his calling not be enough to do the job.

A Jay squawks from a near by tree and then its pink purple shape flies across the ride pursued by the female Sparrowhawk, who once again disappears from view into the dense green summer canopy and still the male bird sits on his bough, grasping his prey item calling to her.

I'm a little amazed by this, normally if you can see a Sparrowhawk it means they have already seen you and are flying away from you, so to get prolonged and close views like this is a rare treat.

I take some pictures and video of the male with my little compact camera, a Panasonic Lumix TZ30 about the size of a fag packet and a very handy little toy to keep in my pocket for occasions like this. The female briefly joins the male on the bough. And then its over and the spell is broken by another lunchtime walker passing under the male sparrowhawks Oak tree, causing the hawk to fall silent and disappear from view. 

No comments: