Sunday, 27 November 2016

Collared Sparrowhawk dines out

The faint hearted should note this is a post about a bird of prey and some of the later photographs show it preying rather graphically.  The red colour is quite appropriate in that regard.

For the past several weeks we have had a pair of accipiters (the genus for Goshawks and Sparrowhawks) lurking around the trees near the Creek.  I am suspicious that they have nested there somewhere but have not yet found the nest tree.  I've also found them very uncooperative in waiting for me to have binoculars and/or camera to hand when they have appeared.

I haven't been game to make a definitive ID between Collared Sparrowhawk and Brown Goshawk, with an inclination to the former as one of the birds seems too small to be even a male Goshawk.

However today I heard the distinctive call and got down to the trees pdq, with my kit.  After a little bit of following the bird from tree to tree, with it carrying prey, it settled down for lunch.  A few photos were taken.

This photo shows the bird calling and also what I consider to be a square tail.  Indication: Sparrowhawk.

 To my mind this is a pretty long middle toe (of the hawk) again indicating Sparrowhawk.
 The toes of the  prey were interesting in that when dining started the hawk seemed very keen to rip the bloody legs off (obviously an Aunty Jack fan).  It then swallowed them whole, after first adjusting them so that the claws went down last.

A close up of the head.  The brows are pretty modest causing it to 'stare' rather than 'glare'. A further indication of Collared Sparrowhawk.  I am now prepared to call it that species.  It also seemed quite a fair sized bird which would make it a female of that species.
 The dinner bell rang.

 Comparing the size of the claws of the prey relative to the raptor's beak shows it to be quite a trick to swallow the leg whole.
 I thought this a good shot to finish with.

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