A lovely March story from Bill Young….
A pair of Jackdaws have acquired a very desirable residence in Elmshaw Road, just opposite Stewart’s allotment. The house had a vacant chimney, it is the centre for a hive of activity, the excited pair dropping sticks down the chimney, followed by a period of very intently, peering down into that chimney. All this in the hope one would lodge and form the base of their nest. Evidently they were successful, as they’re now disappearing down the chimney, with sticks, mud, straw and anything they think suitable.
I have got some shallots under a polythene cloche, whist digging up some weeds next the cloche. I was accompanied by a female blackbird, a robin and two sparrows all enjoying the worms, beetles, woodlice and ants exposed, as I rooted out the weeds.
A shrill shriek from the blackbird, with a whish it was gone, as were the sparrows. I found myself surprised, staring at a sparrow hawk about ten feet away. It had appeared from nowhere! It was on the ground staring at the robin, which had simply and calmly, had ducked under the polythene and into the polytunnel. The sparrow hawk totally ignored me, loped towards the polytunnel, thrust a foot under the polythene and tried to snag the robin. Which simply hopped away, adroitly using the wire stanchions of the tunnel, to limit the leg’s reach and get out of range. All this time, the robin was facing its sparrow hawk opponent, watching it intently. There was maybe a two inch gap between the soil and the polythene edge. The hawk then decided to try and get under the polythene and get at the robin. As soon as its head went under the polythene, our robin ducked out the other side and at top speed disappeared into Jim’s garden.
The hawk then, with a look of disgust, flew up and onto the top of a Elmshaw house chimney, where it proceeded to rearrange its feathers. This greatly disturbed all the resident Elmshaw Road Jackdaws, who communally began to mob it, creating quite a hullabaloo The sparrow hawk at this point gave up and flew off towards Putney Heath.
with thanks to Bill Young