I have seen quite a few sparrowhawk fledglings at various nature reserves in Staffordshire.
The first ones were at a nature reserve in Stoke on Trent. What a noise they make! It would be very difficult to miss them. I counted at least 4 circling around above me in the forest. Getting a photograph was almost impossible. By the time they had landed in a tree, they were off again before I had time to focus my camera. I did manage to get a few shots though…
The second brood I saw was at Deep Hayes Country Park. Well, I didn’t actually see them, but I heard them. After hearing the screeching at the previous nature reserve I was able to recognise the same screeches at Deep Hayes.
The third brood were at Consall Country Park. Walking along the path I could hear screeching from the forest but I wasn’t 100% sure that they were sparrowhawks. Being me, I couldn’t resist investigating further. I walked into the forest following the sound making sure I left a trail of breadcrumbs so I could find my way out again! The noise was getting louder but I was struggling to see what was making the noise through all the foliage. Then, all of a sudden, 4 young sparrowhawks flew straight over my head. One crash landed in a tree next to me. He was with a parent and was begging for food. I didn’t have time to get my camera, they departed just as quickly as they arrived. But as always the experience was enough.
What I have learnt is that the forests seem to be alive with sparrowhawk fledglings in the month of August. If I am hoping to catch a glimpse of one in a nest I need to make sure I keep my eyes peeled in July next year as they fledge once they are around 4 weeks old.. Three to Four weeks after fledging the young will have learned to hunt and become independent.
As well as writing a blog I also keep a paper journal. This way I can look back and know when natural events may occur again the following year and be ready for them!