Category Archives: 2009

Aerial Tussles

Sometimes there is a flurry of activity, all the birds go quiet, something is wrong. On this particular case in December at my local reserve at Willington, all hell was let loose when a Sparrowhawk decided to tussle with a Carrion Crow. The Sparrowhawk had shot past the hide platform at break-neck speed and I thought it was after a smaller bird. Then the Sparrowhawk and Crow both appeared and an argument ensued.


These aerial battles are common – I can only assume the Sparrowhawk crossed the path of the Crow and caused the fracas.

The sound of the two birds, if there was a sound, was drowned out by the wind blowing across the site. There was minor physical contact, but no more than that.

It finished after the Carrion Crow gave up and the Sparrowhawk pursued it for a spell before turning off and going hunting again.

This type of battle goes on every day as these birds struggle to survive in the wild. For me it was a real treat to get close to a Sparrowhawk in flight. In terms of photographic technique, there wasn’t a great deal of time to prepare. I was fortunate that the weather was good, the sky was blue and the light was early morning – soft.  Getting the exposure correct for a dark/black bird, whilst keeping the exposure on the lighter bird, was in this case achieved. The darker birds feathers are nicely lit, whilst the sparrowhawk’s plumage was balanced. The EV was +1/3 .

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