but it was moving that fast that I had less than a second to see it. As far as I could tell a pigeon shot into the tree at the end of the garden. Being winter the tree was a framework of branches and twigs without leaves so it was possible to make out some of what was going on. Close behind the pigeon was a shape which rose up into the air, briefly revealing the shape of its brown wings, before barrelling across the next door field and out of sight before I realised what was going on.

I think what I saw was a sparrowhawk. It was too big to be a kestrel (and they swoop rather than chase) but too small to be a buzzard. I’ve only seen a sparrowhawk a couple of times before. Once was in the same garden several years ago when one flashed by the window in hot pursuit of a blackbird – again only a second or so to take it all in – blink and you’ve missed it. The other time was in a quadrangle of a London school. There were a couple of trees but may attention was drawn to an unusual and unpleasant screaming sort of sound. It turned out to be the alarm call of a blackbird and the reason for it was sitting complacently in one of the trees. From my first floor view point I saw this medium-sized brown bird. I hadn’t seen one close to before (just a few metres away) so I wasn’t quite sure then what it was. After a few minutes the bird had gone but I didn’t see it fly away.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this week’s sparrowhawk to show you. Instead here’s one of a pheasant that graced the fence later that same morning.

This is not a sparrowhawk