Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One swallow, and it was gone...

The Times
15th November 2006

One swallow, and it was gone...

By Alan Hamilton

NATURE, red in tooth, claw and sometimes rump, is a cruel beast.

Birdwatchers who flocked with their high-powered binoculars, telescopes and long lenses to see a rare Mediterranean visitor to Lunan Bay, near Montrose, got more than they bargained for.

They watched in horror as the red-rumped swallow was attacked and eaten by a Scottish sparrowhawk.

Local enthusiasts spotted the swallow, which had taken a wrong turning on its migration route from southern Europe to its wintering grounds in Africa. Word that it had arrived on the East Coast of Scotland spread quickly, and a large crowd had gathered to watch it flying over the beach.

The swallow’s fatal mistake was to take a rest high on the roof of a nearby farm building. The twitchers watched in disbelief as the large hawk appeared, swooped on the swallow, crushed it with its powerful talons and flew off with its tasty Mediterranean dinner.

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