Goshawk Way of Life

It was December last year when I had gotten my first close-encounter with Crested Goshawk. I have a slight bias to birds of prey, and not long before this, I was dreaming of seeing some close-up and perching. Before this, I had only ever got in-flight pictures and one instance where a Pied Harrier landed on the ground nearby. As you put more time into an activity, you will be rewarded. This is especially true with birding, since putting in real time I have been satiated with a hefty share of raptor ‘close-encounters’.

Back to the Goshawk, it was probably my first very close encounter. At the time I only had a 300mm lens and it was plenty. Whilst they can be similar to other Accipiters, they have much larger claws, allowing them to be significantly more menacing – it had a Finlayson’s Squirrel beneath its talons when I first met it.

First meeting with Crested Goshawk, it brought along a squirrel.
3rd December 2021.

So that started a streak on encountering the bird. It was never boring, it often brought a different snack to the perch. I am not sure how much later but I was amazed to see a second Crested Goshawk turn up, I am not sure if other people know the fact that there are two about in this locality – similarly with the two Chinese Blue Flycatchers.

2-in-1 frame for the record. 23rd December 2021.
That day was a Northern Tree Shrew kind of day. 27th December 2021.

I was consistently seeing it up until new year and then I drew blanks for the first week of 2022. It was only on the 10th when I saw it again. Now that brings us to today, the 20th, when I had my most memorable encounter with the Crested Goshawk. The stars aligned and I was once again reminded of their ferocity.

I was in the current, undoubtedly best, area of the park. Observing White-rumped Shama, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, the more recently found Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher and Chinese Blue Flycatcher. When I was shocked to see the Crested Goshawk in the neighbouring tree. It was hunting and it soon swooped and took out a bird. I heard the last scream of life leave it.

Literally a minute after the kill. 20th January 2022.

After the kill, it landed on this exposed perch for around 30 seconds before taking flight into the trees. The stars aligned today in order for me to capture this photograph. I believe both of them were hunting in this area. I would be lying if I didn’t hope it would go for a rodent rather than one of the aforementioned birds.

Deadly and majestic. 20th January 2022.
When I first sighted it today, it seems to already have a bird under its talons.
20th January 2022.

I was curious to what bird it took, I tried looking at the images and I can’t tell. So let me know below if you have any ideas. Speaking of two Crested Goshawks, after these shots there was one still hunting, I think it was the other one.

The other Crested Goshawk was hunting there too. 20th January 2022.

Notice the browner head, I guess that hints that this is a female. I am still inexperienced. They seem to be immature, or at least one of them, due to a lack of belly streaking. Enlighten me in the comments. Today was another intense day for birding thanks to the Crested Goshawk.

Update: David Gandy reckons the bird it killed was a Black-winged Cuckooshrike. It was worth mentioning as that was a bird I had seen the last two visits here. It was jumping around the canopies in which the Goshawk likes to stay around too…

All images © 2021 – 2022 hamsambly


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