colder still

31st Jan 2019

Colder still

After a balmy spell the weather has turned cold again. Even as day length grows, the actual foraging time for most species is limited. With a glaze of frost persisting, the availability of food becomes an issue.


For the last few days a sparrowhawk has been doing the rounds, both circling at 50-70m and also the quick zip round hedges, walls and trees. Both have their own costs. Until recently we have had a number of last year's fledgling blackbirds hob-nobbing in the garden, but with territories becoming well-established, these have been forced out. There is now a vacancy.


I came back from a field visit to find a classic sparrowhawk meal plate left on a box hedge: two legs and two wings. All other bits had gone with the diner. Very neat, cleaned leg bones, and confirmation from the deftly arranged feathers  that the age of the blackbird male was 2+. I assume that it was the same one that had been courting and mating with an adult female a week or two ago.


The frost outside presages snow later today, and i wonder if the peregrine that is commuting around is going to stay or move out. The coast is cold, and the snow is coming from the south west. On balance, the best option might be to feed up (the plucking station on the spire suggests that is ongoing) and wait it out..