© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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A blur of feathers

It was one of those moments that puts a big smile on my face...

There I was, wandering around Highbury Park expecting to see nothing more exciting than some interesting types of fungi. I'd been taking photos for most of the morning, snapping away at all manner of mushrooms. In the hope of seeing some different species, I went into the more heavily wooded section of the park, tramping merrily and very noisily along.

Suddenly something just mere feet in front of me flew up. Something large and powerful. Shocked from my daydream, I stepped back, then quickly gathered my thoughts and followed it with my eyes. All I saw though was a flash of feathers as it disappeared behind a tree immediately in front of me. But whatever it was had settled on a branch of another tree just behind that one.

Moving cautiously now, I slowly tried to edge around, my camera ready in my hand - but whatever this large bird was, it was now firmly on the look out. I heard the flapping of wings, and a rustle as it took off again.

Rushing now, I ran forward and looked skyward. There! Just disappearing further into the trees, was a decent-sized bird of prey, with a blunt tail, a creamy underside with bar-like markings on it, and bluish-grey back and wings. All this I saw for just a second, but it was enough for me to know that I had disturbed a Sparrow Hawk.

Although I'm gutted I didn't manage to get a picture of it, to be honest I didn't even try. I knew that in those few brief moments I would have a choice. I could either try to get a snap, pointing my camera and shooting, unable to aim properly and focus, simply hoping for the best - and who knows I might just get lucky...or more likely have a blurred blob as a memento. Or I could forget about the photograph, not even try, and instead concentrate on simply looking, enjoying the moment, and taking in every detail I could with my mind's eye.

I'm so glad I opted for the latter.