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  #1  
Old 4th March 2011
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Falk Falk is offline
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Rare early morning visit by a raptor

I consider myself lucky to not have missed this rather small and juvenile male Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), resting on my fence! A rare sight, him sitting there in the open, for everyone to see!
Even though I know how to stalk I didn't gave myself a great chance to get more then one or two bursts with the camera until he should spot me through the windows. But I was even able to change positon, getting him from the upstairs!
At first I thought he might have hit a window and is k.o. or sick!? But he otherwise behaved normal and was obviously fine.





When a by going car spooked him he only flew a few meters to perch on a different part of my fence, giving me the opportunity to get more shots of him. Really unusual ...!





Unfortunately the light was as bad as usual, so high ISO was used with the E-30 and ZD70-300, but exposure was to darn long anyways. And BTW, I was brushing my teeth when I spotted him! With no time to loose on this bird, I had to keep the brush in my mouth when I jumped for the camera. Please keep this in mind when commenting
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Old 4th March 2011
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Re: Rare early morning visit by a raptor

Some excellent shots. I would think that a high percentage of Sparrowhawk photos are taken in domestic gardens as this is where the highest concentration of passerines often are. I get a female rushing through the garden regularly and sometimes a male. My best shot was taken under similar circumstances very early one morning just after opening the bedroom curtains.
Well done.

David
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Old 4th March 2011
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Re: Rare early morning visit by a raptor

Four great grab shots well spotted and taken.
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Old 4th March 2011
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Re: Rare early morning visit by a raptor

Was meaning to comment on this in work earlier, but got sidetracked - awesome grab shots, great to have as a memory of seeing this fella. I've yet to add a proper shot of one like this to my collection. Good stuff!
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Old 4th March 2011
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Re: Rare early morning visit by a raptor

You were lucky that with a toothbrush in your mouth he presented you with something to "get your teeth into" - at least you weren't sitting with your pants pulled down around your knees!

Nice shots, Falk.
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Old 4th March 2011
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Re: Rare early morning visit by a raptor

Thanks all, for the kind comments - they are much appreciated

I wrote earlier that this fellow is rather small in stature - and he really is.

With a caliper I took measurements of the top fence boards. And with the tiny but usefull Cool Ruler program (do a web search; I use it >10yrs.) I was able to put them into realtion with the photos. My literature gives 28cm for the shortest total lenght in male birds, but him is only 27cm tall. The fact that young birds tend to have a slightly longer tail then adults, does make him even lesser! Maybe I have captured the new negative record!?
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Old 22nd March 2011
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Re: Rare early morning visit by a raptor

I can add the female to this thread now:


At least a record shot, but I am dissapointed somewhat. Alright, when she turned up I was in an uncomfortable place and position, but had time enough to turn IS off, set exposure to +1EV and focus to AF-MF-C. She made her circles trying to gain hight and I did maybe 50 pics of her. All pannnig shots of course and pretty slow shutter speeds (1/400s), but at least some of the many had to be okay ... but only a small fraction were close. I guess I am not used to the continous AF thing!?

Only minutes later on my walk this Red Kite (Milvus milvus) went overhead and I set the camera again as mentioned above:

Considering this is only cropped little, it is not as good as it should have been - and I have more of it ...

For good measure - and to avoid starting a new thread, I like to show you a pretty and rare bird (at my place), which I captured inbetween the Sparrowhawk and the Red Kite shots:

A Stonechat male (Saxicola torquata, German: Schwarzkehlchen). I hope he will stay in my vicinity and enable me to shoot even more pics of him and hopefully his family later on.
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Old 22nd March 2011
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Re: Rare early morning visit by a raptor

A grat thread with some super shots....My success rate at flight shots is about 1% and then most of the wings are missing,so well done.
Hope the Stoney stays for you.
Keith
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Old 23rd March 2011
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Re: Rare early morning visit by a raptor

Great shots, I love raptors. Roberta
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Old 23rd March 2011
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Re: Rare early morning visit by a raptor

A great thread with some lovely images and accompanying dialog.

Unfortunately, we like to set up bird feeding tables in our gardens to support the passerine but the Sparrow hawks learn where these are and wait for the small birds to arrive. The greatest number of birds arriving at the feeders is usually first thing in the morning which is why most sightings of the Sparrow Hawk is then.
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