Winter Project

30th October 2010
It must be over 15 years ago now that, having moved over to the far eastern side of Nottinghamshire, I saw my first buzzard. It seem strange now that these magnificent raptors where a fairly rare occurance in the east of the country such a short time ago. It was in 2005 that I had my first close encounter with one of these birds. I had my first digital SLR a Canon 10d and after finishing work on district, decided to take a walk along a bridlepath at the back of Walesby Scout Camp. Dusk was approaching as I rounded the edge of a wooded area and a huge raptor flew up three metres in front of me. I followed its flight as it flew a quarter of a mile away and disappeared into the trees. I had plenty of time to identify it as a buzzard, but when I looked at the ground I found the remains of a pigeon. This puzzled me at the time as this was slightly unusual prey for a buzzard.

Darkness was falling and I knew that the bird would have gone to roost, so not wanting the pigeon to be taken by a fox I hid it under a piece of wood and decided to come back before dawn the following morning with camera in hand. I arrived in the dark and after placing the bird back in position, managed to slide under the low branches of a yew tree.

Imagine my surprise, when an hour later I looked up to see a beautiful female sparrowhawk perched on the pigeon, which she preceded to eat. I can only assume that the sparrowhawk must have been the real killer of the pigeon and the opertunistic buzzard had bullied the sparrowhawk off it's meal. The Sparrowhawk tucked in and I got some what I assumed to be, stunning images. It wasn't until later that I found out that my sigma lens had not been calibrated for a digital slr, and consequently the images where all slightly out of focus. So this winter I have some old scores to settle. I will be pegging road kill rabbits out at my feed station, hopefully to entice buzzards. The sparrowhawks may be more of a challenge unless I'm lucky enough to be in the hide when one assults my feed station or I can find a regular plucking post.

Here's a poor buzzard image from this morning. Notice two buzzards in a field on my way back from Treswell. I knew they wouldn't let me get anywhere close, so this is a massive crop. Lets hope for better soon!

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