Tuesday, 18 December 2012


The dictionary definition for gobsmacked is....astounded/astonished and I was both today with some bird behaviour I never thought I'd see in my birding lifetime. 

David Cookson Images: November/December 2012  Kingfisher
Kingfisher David Cookson

At Conder Green - where my encounters for today will be posted later when time allows - I found a Kingfisher perched quietly on a branch and had excellent close views, though not close enough for my second rate photographic equipment unfortunately. As I took my eyes away from my binoculars I spotted a bird of prey on a fence post at about 100 mtrs in line with the Kingfisher. To get the ID of this bird I got my telescope on to it to discover as expected it was a Sparrowhawk. Just as I took my eyes off the hawk I saw a movement near it and putting my eye back to the scope found the Kingfisher had landed on the next post to the hawk barely one metre apart....I was gobsmacked number one.

Sparrowhawk Brian Rafferty

In the few minutes they perched together, neither bird took the slightest notice of each other until they took off together....oh dear the end of the Kingfisher is nigh I thought to myself....but the Kingfisher had flown away from the fence line, the Sparrowhawk flew down the fence line and out of sight, moments later the Kingfisher was back on the post it had left just seconds ago....gobsmacked number two.

Enter gobsmacked number three....bringing my telescope back to where I had found the Kingfisher in the first place perched on the branch, to my amazement its still there, well bloody hell there are two Kingfisher here after all and I was now looking at the two of them in the same view. Birds....they fascinate me in a million ways.

Many Thanks to BR/DC for the brilliant photographs.

Today's Mega.  

Rose-breasted Grosbeak Copyright Ashley Fisher

At St Mary's on the Scilly Isles a 1st winter male Rose-breasted Grosbeak to follow the last one seen also on the Scillies at St Agnus in October 2007. Not quite as stunning as the adult in the video below, but a 'WOW' record all the same, an extremely rare vagrant to the UK.


Sharon Whitley said...

Maybe he'd just eaten - or doesn't like kingfisher ;-) Great sightings and great photos

Adam said...

great video of the grosbeak

Gary Jones said...

mmm might have had a problem swallowing that long beak, but a great experience for you Pete, great pics from DC and Brian!

geoff gradwell said...

Gobsmacking indeed, and reminds me I had a Sparrowhawk sat 15feet in front of the car next to a puddle... and a Grey Wagtail sat six feet away while they stared each other out... both going there own way eventually... fantastic to see.

as always best w

Warren Baker said...

That was a fascinating observation Pete, only those two birds knew what was going on :-)

Pete Woodruff said...

Sharon/Adam/Gary/Geoff/Warren....Just a big thanks for looking in and making a comment.

Richard Pegler said...

What an amazing experience Pete! Both are fantastic birds to observe in their own right, but to see them together without the dramatic ending that would, undoubtedly, have left a sour taste in the mouth (yours, if not the Sprawk's!) is a truly enviable experience