An unexpected visit

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who found daffodils out this morning when he visited Manchester Square, an 18th-century garden square in Marylebone, London.

We got a little welcome sunshine here too today, but it was at the cost of a morning frost. The highlight of the day came very early. We were upstairs getting ready to go to church when the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a sparrowhawk sitting on a hedge in the garden. I scampered downstairs to collect my camera and came back up fully expecting to find that the bird had flown. It had not.

What was even better was that after standing and staring on the hedge for a while, the hawk flew up and perched on the feeder pole, right opposite my camera. Birds are not usually so helpful. I took more pictures before it flew off..

It is a female sparrowhawk, and it was all the more welcome because it didn’t carry off any of our little birds in its claws as it left.

We walked to church and back because we didn’t want to risk cycling in the slightly icy conditions. When we got home, I saw that there were plenty of birds back on the walnut tree, undeterred by the hawk’s earlier visit.

After a cup of coffee, I had a quick walk round the garden to enjoy the effects of the frost.

Mrs Tootlepedal had directed my attention to a large fungus on the weigela stump.

I had quite of lot of tasks to be done at the computer today so there was no time for even a short walk between choirs, but I did get a chance to look out of the window when the sun got round to the bird feeder. After a lone goldfinch appeared . . .

. . . I could hardly stop taking flying sparrows and chaffinches today.

There was a single walking pigeon at one moment . . .

. . . but it soon took to the air too.

As I hadn’t had the opportunity to take any pictures on a walk, the sky above the garden kindly put on a special show for me when we left to go to the choir in Carlisle after lunch.

We had an excellent guest conductor for our practice today and we made good progress on our songs. It was an extra treat to find that for the first time for some weeks, it wasn’t entirely dark as we left the hall.

And as a bonus, the clear skies let me get a look at the full moon later in the evening.

A cold chicken and chutney sandwich and more work at the computer rounded off a day that had produced more photographic interest than I had expected from a very sedentary time. The flying bird of the day is probably the least interesting picture of them all but a picture of a flying sparrowhawk is very rare so it took precedence over better shots of the many sparrows and chaffinches.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “An unexpected visit

  1. The sparrowhawk is certainly beautiful, and I am glad she kindly posed for you. Perhaps she wanted you to see her better side, though her stern expression makes even Mr. Grumpy look happy. A fine selection of photos, capped off by a colorful sunset and then the moon. I think the clouds in the preceding photo are of the altocumulus type. They are among my favorites for observation. It is heavy and grey here today, and raining off and on.

  2. I agree; the shots of the sparrowhawk are excellent. It’s always nice when nature poses.
    With fungus like that on it cutting the weigela was a good decision. It probably wouldn’t have lasted long anyway.
    I like the frost pattern on the car. I’ve never seen it do that.

  3. Wonderful photos of the sparrowhawk – and so kind of it to pose. The frost pattern on your windshield is beautiful in its simplicity – far less “paisley” and “ferny” than you often find on glass. And – what a funky looking VW van – looks like it should be on its way to Woodstock!

  4. That sparrowhawk is a beauty. I know that we can have mixed feelings about having a predator so close to the song birds. Still…a treat to see, especially when no songbirds we’re harmed.

  5. Manchester Square . One of my favourite lunchtime venues when I worked for a good few years in North Audley street. The Wallace Collection was a favourite haunt.

  6. A special visit indeed and great shots too ! There seem to be more similar cases in the past week that I saw by other bloggers. Birds of prey getting more brave in villages ???

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