Phil has just filed this wildlife report from Exeter:
Just saw the coolest thing ever on the way back from town. On the lawn of the old people's home I saw a sparrowhawk killing a pigeon. There was another pigeon trying to fight the sparrowhawk away (fool!). It failed naturally, and ran off. The dying pigeon seemed to give up after about five minutes, and the hawk started to pick at it and eat it. It had been tearing little bits off the pigeon's chest for another five minutes when some stupid woman came out of the home, and without seeing the bird, walked right past it and scared it off. The sparrowhawk tried to fly off with the pigeon, but it was too heavy and he dropped it. The pigeon miraculously stood up, looking dazed and confused. The sparrowhawk tried to swoop down and get it again but missed, and the pigeon rather worse for the wear flew away. Pigeon 1 - Sparrowhawk 0.
I really couldn't believe my eyes. It was such an impressive little bird, very pretty with the most amazing amber eyes. It looked truly gutted when the pigeon went. It sat in a tree, doubtless waiting for another victim. The most incredible part is that all this occured not 5 yards from a busy city road. Birds of prey are back!