A hunter in the trees

by Simon Knight

My walk in the park was short and definitely sweet last Sunday morning. My first sighting was of a sparrow hawk.

It had just taken off from the ground only 30ft away from me and I had clearly spooked it, but I had no idea that it was there until it was too late. But shortly after it took off I heard it call, so was able to locate it in the trees. I was able to get one picture before it took off again. I’m not happy at all with the picture, but it’s good enough for a record of the encounter and more importantly, it shows that the park serves as a hunting ground for this raptor. I did try to track it down again and was getting close until the hawk was flushed out by somebody who didn’t realise it was close. I had a chat with this person, and it was great to hear that she had recently seen her first great spotted woodpecker in the park, which she was over the moon about. 

It’s fantastic that the park can give people these wildlife sightings and introduce them to species that they have never seen before. This also shows the importance of the park as a habitat and the interactions that we have with it. I think that if people can make a real connection with wildlife by seeing it in person, then maybe our natural habitats and wildlife will have a better future. 

My next welcome sighting, and it was my first of the year, was a chiffchaff. Its song alerted me to its presence, and I was soon able to locate the bird as it moved from twig to twig. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture of it. 

The sun stayed out long enough for me to get only my second shot of a squirrel – they’re not high up on my list of species to photograph. I know they are generally regarded as pests, but they’re still pretty cute and can be quite entertaining as they chase each other through the trees. I couldn’t resist this one as it ate its breakfast with the sun backlighting its tail. It was a nice end to my short visit to the park that day.


4 thoughts on “

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  1. Dear Simon,
    Interesting that you spotted a sparrow hawk in the park. It was only last year that a sparrow hawk landed on my garage roof, where I was able to take some lovely shots. Was wondering whether this could have been the same one or of the same family as I live in Southwick. Regards,Paul.

  2. Hi Paul

    There’s a good chance that this is the same bird and Southwick and the park forms part of its local area. Do you have feeders and small birds in your garden that attracted the sparrow sparrowhawk?

    1. ÌHello Simon,
      Yes we do have a bird feeder and it has been attracting sparrows which have been nesting in next-door’s garden in the past, as well as other species of bird.Thanks for the information, Paul.

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