Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Heart Is Bigger Than My Brain!

And here is the evidence.

Female Sparrowhawk catching a Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker

What? you say.

You know that I have a soft spot for the little birds in general, and in my garden in particular, since I attract them with food in order to enjoy watching them and taking photographs of them. In my previous post on Monday I outsmarted the cats, but today my brain short-circuited, it did not perform any better than a lump of jelly.

Alerted by commotion in the garden I looked out from the kitchen window and saw a bird of prey on top of a struggling woodpecker. What did I do? I rushed upstairs for my camera, which had the short standard lens on. I thought there would not be time enough to switch to the 300 mm lens. So I took two pictures from an upstairs window. And here comes the real brain meltdown. Since I saw that the victim was still alive and kicking, literally, I ran down to scare the predator off, hoping it would leave the poor juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker alone on the grass.

When I had come out through the kitchen door on the side, I took only two steps before the Sparrowhawk took off with its load firmly in its grip. (Here ought to follow a long sequence of very offensive words, but I have edited them out before having written them.)

Lessons learnt:

1) Always keep the 300 mm lens on when in house.

2) Preferably keep camera on same floor as oneself.

3) If you think you are a good photographer, think again!

I should of course calmly have taken the 30 seconds it takes to switch lenses, then positioned myself in a suitable window, and I should have put the camera in continuous shooting mode in order to get as many pictures as possible of this rare occasion, a Sparrowhawk tearing its victim apart. I would have had images of strings of bloody flesh being pulled by a natural-born killer. I had a fantastic opportunity to catch a real wildlife situation in my own garden, but my heart took over. How stupid can one get? Keeping cats out is one thing, but you cannot do anything about birds of prey.

Instead I had to resort to looking at the two blurry pictures, consult the bird book to confirm it was a female Sparrowhawk and then curse myself for being so soft-hearted. D’oh!


Veronica said...

oh well! what can I say?

swenglishexpat said...

Veronica - Thank you for your discretion! ;-)