Saturday 13 March 2010

eating a pigeon

The local sparrowhawk has been busy. I put a pan of water on the stove because I was making penne al'arrabiata for dinner; then I peeped out of the window to see what was going on, and there it was, already eating its dinner. It was there for over half an hour; after it had eaten all the soft stuff it could get at from this stance, it rolled the pigeon over and resumed its eating. Then it flew heavily to the wall, carrying the remains with it; and after a short while it flew off to the local ash tree to relax, if sparrowhawks relax.

And yesterday I was at Clevedon with Jules, dropping off some books at Sealey's, the excellent bookshop on Hill Road. Then we took a walk around Poets Walk, looking for somewhere to eat our ham and bread roll, while rain storms swept by to the east. It was a dramatic scene.

There was a sound unlike one that I'd heard before; if you put a cat and a bolshy baby into a tumble dryer together and turned it on (don't try this at home, gentle reader) wouldn't sound like that either, but it would have the flavour of it.

I gazed around, and saw that a peregrine falcon had 'bounced' a black-backed gull.

They sailed off to the east, circling each other, the gull looking pretty annoyed and the falcon radiating insouciance. Then the falcon caught an updraft and spiralled swiftly up and away.


  1. That is a fantastic shot of the storm Dru.


  2. So that's where all the tasty pigeons go! No wonder I can't buy them anymore.

    Caroline xxx

  3. Wow.....!

    Nature Watch...


  4. A pretty Hawk Intensive Day :-) xx

  5. Nature doesn't always spare you the gory bits, does it! Glad you had a camera handy for *your* bird-of-prey moments!

  6. I always thought that Sparrowhawks ate - sparrows. Still, I suppose a nice big pigeon would leave time for relaxation before the next feed.

    i like the pictures.

  7. Amazing pictures! Perhaps you could share some of them on a new website about Clevedon? Have a look at

  8. Good pictures. The other morning as I walked to work through the dawn, ahead of me on the path was a vicious fight involving two magpies and two rooks. As I approached, the four flew off, the two magpies harrying the smaller rooks and screaming abuse while tweaking their tail feathers. I expected to find the shredded remains of a small mammal where they had been fighting, but all there was to be seen was a forked twig, no longer than eight inches or so. Such is nature.

  9. Thank you, Stace!

    Plenty of pigeons here, Caroline! Do come and help yourself!

    It was good luck that I caught the peregrine, Jenny, even in such a blurred picture, and with the camera dangling round my neck at the time... it took me by surprise as much as it did the gull.

    They eat them too, Anji; I saw one snatch a sparrow from a roof last year. V dramatic it was too, not least for the sparrow.

    Thanks for the link, Andy; I got lost in the how-to-do-it bit. Shall have another look.

    They'er always getting into slanging matches, them magpies, aren't they Graham? I saw some magpies and some jays having a face-off in a park. It was very Sharks and Jets.

  10. Our jays are attempting a comeback this year after being booted out by the mapgpies last year.

  11. I've only ever seen one jay, even though they are reputed to be quite common around here. We have Kingfishers too. I've seen those. Beautiful birds.