|I looked out at the snow yesterday morning ... and there before my eyes was this male Sparrowhawk.|
|The bird sensed it was being watched, and began to turn its head ...|
|... in my direction.|
|It was my best Sparrowhawk sighting to date ...|
|... despite the fact that I was looking (and taking photos) through double-glazing.|
|I have seen a Sparrowhawk in this garden before, but only on a couple of occasions.|
|We have had hungry Robins, Blue tits, Great tits and Goldfinches in the garden recently ...|
|... and with such a large predator about, I feared for their safety.|
|Here is one of the tiny Blue tits ...|
|... keeping a wary eye out for trouble.|
|Then today, David took this photo of a Long-tailed tit feeding from our coconut fatball.|
|The Blackbird was hopping about in the snow, and so far the small birds seem to be surviving.|
I wonder whether you feel protective towards your small birds? I love the concept of 'wild', but find I have to brace myself when it comes to Tennyson's phrase, 'Nature red in tooth and claw'.
I looked up Tennyson's poem, In Memoriam A. H. H., 1850 (Canto 56) ... and only then remembered with a shudder that 'Nature' in this particular poem is not the personification of a wild creature in our landscape such as the Sparrowhawk: no, it actually refers to us as a race of human beings.
So what set me thinking? Well, two things, triggered by the arrival of the Sparrowhawk in my home patch. The first was a post on fellow poet, Juliet Wilson's Crafty Green Poet blog, about her sighting of a fox and a drove of rabbits in the snow (I was willing the fox to feed, but not on the rabbits!). The second was a memory of my time in Philadelphia a year ago last January, when I discovered that there was a version of The Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks (1780 - 1849) in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Hicks, apparently, painted 61 versions of the scene, so don't be surprised if this is not the version you know!
- On the subject of foxes, you might be interested in this.