I’ve been back to Killonerry, reflecting, relaxing and spotting the sights of summer. As I let my mind wander a trio of dogs came into sight, a lean and rangy lurcher, a cheeky black terrier and a bouncy, sandy-coloured Alsatian cross. This motley (or mutley crew) made me smile as hubs and I stood on the bridge, waiting for them to pass, anxiously looking for a tail wag that would signify friendly intentions. What we hadn’t expected was a rapid turn about as the terrier and Alsatian cross obviously decided there was was not enough proof of us being ‘good dogs’. They were only brave enough to make the move once their tough lurcher friend made a reappearance and lead them across.
This very schoolyard occurence reminded me that animals have insecurities too. Further observation revealed that the Alsatian cross was a lowly number 3 in the pecking order as he stuck closely to the terrier’s heels, following his every move. For dogs then, size is obviously not a major factor when it comes to determining status. As I mulled this over a sparrohawk glided majestically into sight. I admired her perfect arrow shaped body, the speckles across her wings, the ribbed pattern at her throat and a fine striped tail.
Once again, my unintentional Summerwatch was in progress. In the absence of a camera (mine is too unwieldly) I could only rely on my memory to hold the images and make a mental note to write it all down when I got home. I’ve since discovered sparrowhawks are ruthless deadly predators who dine out on other birds. But on that cloudy July day as I wrestled with an inner dilemma the sparrowhawk was my saviour, robbing me of troublesome thoughts, inspiring an ‘ooh’ of marvel. A bird of prey and a canine gang had added some creature features to my day and I found myself wondering at the natural world, feeling I belonged without understanding everything, without needing to.
Picture sourced at: http://www.moorhen.me.uk/iodsubject/birds_-_sparrowhawk_01.htm
Summerwatch 2: The Mutley Crew & Sparrowhawk Salute.