Sunday 13 September 2009

Hunting partridges with goshawks

Today I met up with Roy Lupton, and the goshawk chicks that have been starring in the series, for their first outing after live quarry.

Hawking is completely new to me, so it was fascinating to see how it works. We started in the woods, using ferrets to bolt rabbits. The young goshawks seemed a bit fazed by all the cover, and never really got onto the rabbits, so we moved out to the field and Roy worked his pointer until we found a youngish covey of partridges. In a blur, a bird was in the air, the goshawk was released, and the two birds tumbled to earth together, the goshawk 'hooding' its catch in that distinctive way.

It was a privilege to watch, and a nightmare to photograph!

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