Sometimes, you don't have to go stalking through the wilds to find wildlife - sometimes it comes to you....
We had a visit from a male sparrowhawk last week - not 10ft from the back door, whilst we were doing the dishes. This was our first visit from such a bird, and he sat sheltered from the wind and rain, on the feeder station happily for about 20mins as I photographed him, and Tina videoed him. He had obviously been attracted by the 30+ flock of goldfinches that visit the feeding station throughout the day:
Photographing he bird wasn't going to be easy - it was raining, overcast and I didn't want to open the door to spook him so it was also shot through double-glazing. Shutterspeeds of around 1/40 and an ISO of 800+ was called for and the good old Optical Stabilisation on the Sigma 50-500mm allowed for decent shots to be captured:
This bird was a male, known for it's slate grey colouration and smaller build than the brownish female bird. This is one of most common birds of prey and is widespread throughout the country - it is often seen in gardens with woodland nearby, and will chase small birds in and out of the trees. In gardens, they will shoot through a flock of feeding birds, singling one out as a target. They are excellent hunters, using speed and surprise as it's main form of attack.
Tina's brilliant video footage shows the feather markings well, the yellow legs and that striking, piercing eye. Look out for these birds in parks and woodland, where you find lots of pigeons or flocks of smaller birds, they really are a treat to see at close quarters:
About this blog:
Photographic adventures from from behind the DGPix Wildlife & Nature Photography lens!