A visit to the remarkable Tom Robinson in Lincolnshire, to get up close and personal with my favourite bird - The Sparrowhawk
Anyone that follows my Flickr account will know that I love taking pictures of 'my' local Sparrowhawk. In reality of course, my sightings are likely to be of more than one bird, with several visiting the skies above our house as they survey the small bird population occupying our garden birdfeeders.
I've taken some lovely shots of these wonderful birds in flight, often offering tremendous close-up views from the balcony overlooking the garden and surrounding countryside - a fabulous bird-watching position!
It's very difficult however, to track these birds once they've 'whooshed' through your eye-line. Incredible acrobats, they are like a stealth fighter weaving in and out of the woodland in pursuit of their target, disappearing into the depth of the woods and out of sight with their prize.
A wildlife photography friend recommended Tom Robinson's hides in Lincolnshire as a must see. An early morning drive and a climb up a specially erected and well camouflaged scaffold hide and suddenly I was within 10 metres of a Sparrowhawk hide and 4 chicks, a few days from fully fledging!
Tom operates several licenses to allow him such close access to these and other nesting species and is a strong conservationist as well a great award winning photographer.
The hide provides just enough space for a single photographer and with the birds blissfully unaware of our presence, Tom left me to a day spent bewitched by these beautiful birds. The adult female was in and out all day, diligently feeding it's young and ensuring all were fed well. The young birds were (Springwatch style) 'semi-fledged' and spending time testing their fluffy wings whilst perched on branches, hopping/flying between trees but returning to the nest each time the female brought in a catch.
What an incredible privilege to see such an intimate scene, so close that you felt part of the family.