I noticed a bit of a kerfuffle on the lawn this morning and there in the middle was a Sparrowhawk finishing off a Blackbird. Unfortunately I was looking almost straight into the light.
It is strange how sentimental we can get over such a natural act. We watch programmes about the Serengeti and wonder and are excited at the site of a Cheetah kill, with little thought for the Wildebeest that provides the food that keeps the cheetah family alive. We have been condition to be on the side of the "Big Cats", after all they have a diary!
The Sparrowhawk fares less well. He has chosen one of the favourites of the garden bird watcher, a Blackbird. They get tame and come and take worms while we are digging, and there lies the problem. Because they are tame it is possible that they are off guard when they are in the garden. The Sparrowhawk is also clever enough to recognise a garden that has lots of birds in it regularly, so feeding the birds provides a sort of take away for the Sparrowhawk.
Once the Blackbird's struggle had been subdued the Sparrowhawk stooped over the body and shielded it from the marauding Magpies that had been attracted to the scene by all the fuss going on.
Eventually the Sparrowhawk got fed up and carried the food to the back of the garden, of course it might have a nest nearby with young, awaiting their feed. It is always difficult to watch scenes like this with out some pangs of sentiment creeping in. I'm not a vegetarian, so it would be hypercritical of me to feel that there was any wrong doing by the Sparrowhawk, and I'm sure that the population of Blackbirds is so high at the moment that this one won't be missed for long.
This evening ended with a dash to Dungeness to see a Crested Lark there. There are 20 accepted records of Crested Lark in Britain. The most recent published record for Kent was in 1975. The views were brief, but the light faded quickly. It might hang around and allow a greater number of people to twitch it.