I was lucky enough to have one of those 'nature in the raw' moments this morning. On my way from the wholesaler to work I cut through Bothal village intent on a quick check for the Green Winged Teal, which incidentally I did but couldn't locate probably more as a consequence of only having bins than the bird not being around.
Anyway just as I was coming into Bothal I noticed a right kerfuffle on the grassy edge of the road a little way ahead. My first thoughts were that it looked like a domestic chicken having an epileptic fit but I quickly realised there were two birds. A female Sparrowhawk and a Jackdaw. By the time I pulled up alongside the Sparrowhawk had downed the Jackdaw, obviously not a Viking this one, which was lying 'panting' heavily, head down and looking pretty terminal. The Sparrowhawk lay wings half opened in a classic prey covering position also slightly short of breath after her exertion.
The car stopped I felt like leaping out to crouch and do an 'Attenborough', you know "the female will hold onto the Jackdaw with her sharp talons and slowly squeeze the life..." but alas no cameras on board today not even a mobile phone so I had to let it pass.
No doubt there's many that would have shifted the Sparrowhawk on, not me, I have little sentimentality about these things, all part of the natural process as far as I'm concerned.
I nearly started this post with the words 'Once Upon a Time' but I wouldn't want to encourage a reputation for fairy stories now would I?
By the way if anyone has BBi and fancies looking up an article/study by Owen in BB26 (1932)regarding British Prey Items in Sparrowhawk just to confirm that Jackdaw is listed please feel free to do so and leave a comment as Jackdaw is not mentioned in BWP, although Jay is.
Edit 24/2 Have now had the opportunity to check BBi and Jackdaw whilst not mentioned in Owen (1932) was noted in a subsequent note in 2002 by G & A Paterson. It would appear not to be a common type of prey.