Wednesday was wet but warmer and dozens of swallows and swifts put on an amazing display of their aerial skills. They looked like bats in the gloom of the late afternoon light, racing up and down the river, sometimes spiralling upwards then swooping low and skimming the water. While I stopped to watch in admiration I suddenly spotted another shape speeding downstream and was amazed to see that it was a sparrowhawk, attempting to take one of the smaller birds I presume. I did my best to photograph this incredible action but the speed of the sparrowhawk and low light weren't ideal conditions for clarity and sharpness of image.
Sparrowhawk chasing the swallows and swifts
Attempting a different approach
After failing in its many attempts at catching the swallows as they skimmed the water the sparrowhawk tried a different approach, dive bombing them from above. In spite of frequent swoops and stalls I didn't see it succeed in its hunt.
Jackdaw chases off sparrowhawk
A pair of jackdaws weren't too keen of the presence of a bird of prey near to their nest and started to bombard the sparrowhawk. Here, one of them chases him away from their territory.
Time for a scratch during a brief rest
The sparrowhawk must have spent about an hour patrolling the river but I don't think it was successful in its hunt for supper. It rested for a couple of minutes in a tree along the riverbank before resuming the hunt.
A pause to check its potential prey
After another brief break from hunting the sparrowhawk resumed its patrol of the river but was spotted by a crow and two magpies and chased away for good that day. I'm wondering whether it will be back another day but, as it had little, if any success, it may not choose to hunt here again.