Wednesday 30 December 2020

South Wales for Sparrowhawk - 17 December

My third visit of the year to Ian Howells' great Woodland hide in South Wales. Fortunately it was just before the latest Welsh and now English Covid-19 lockdowns. 

The main aim of this visit was to photograph the male Sparrowhawk that I'd seen previously as an immature in July and then moulting in August. For this visit the moult was complete, and the bird was looking very smart indeed!

However it took its time to appear - not until 11:45 - I had been there since shortly after 07:00!

Click on any of the captions below for larger images. 

Also go to this gallery for all my photos of this bird from this session and the two earlier ones. 

Click here to enlarge

Crop of shot above

Suddenly alert, the bird had spotted a movement and was about to dash off in hot pursuit!

The bird was facing away for almost the whole time during its three visits. Just once it arrived and faced the other way very briefly.

A rare frontal view

This female came in once and chased off the male before abruptly departing. Fortunately the male came back shortly afterwards.

Female just after chasing off the male


  1. Great shots Steve he looks very smart now must try and have another look

    1. Thanks Mark. Unfortunately I believe he has had to close to hide due to the Welsh lockdown, so it may be sometime before he's able to reopen it.

  2. What a stunning bird the male is as shown by these fantastic photos. Sprawk is my favourite British bird - since childhood when it was rare (DDT!). The other bird is a juvenile as you no doubt know(heart-shaped breast spots and fresh fringes to uppers) . Wonder if you'll get chance to photograph that one when it's older. Happy new year.

  3. Thanks Mick. I didnt realise the brown bird was a juvenile which is puzzling as I thought it would have moulted by now. Any comments?

  4. They are in juv plumage (ie the first proper plumage grown through downy nestling cover) until spring/summer of following year Steve. Full adults and most 'near adults lack the broad rufous fringing above so that area looks plainer and the body bars are finer and - usually with neater bars all way up body ie most don't show blobs or heart shapes on chest.