What a beautiful snowy day. A rarity for the Island, the snow fell all day with little wind, so the snow just kept piling up - at least 8 inches, and still sifting down.
I love a day like this, when the bird feeders are just hopping in a frenzy of activity. Sparrows and mourning doves on the ground, cardinals and chickadees zipping in and out from brush to feeder and back, and downy woodpeckers spiraling up the tree trunk, while a white-breasted nuthatch makes its way, head first, down the trunk. Song and white-throated are the majority of the sparrow species, but on this day, they are joined by a fox sparrow - a winter treat to see,
As I reached for my binoculars, so that I could get a magnified view of the beauties, and then turned back to the scene, I realized that I have an equal opportunity bird feeder. In those few seconds the little feathered sprites - as if it were a magic trick - were replaced by a large sharp-shinned hawk with a tuft of feathers in one taloned foot. It paused for a moment, (less time than it took me to replace my binoculars with the camera) and then flew off with a couple of slow wing flaps and its feathery quarry firmly grasped.
It took a little while before the feeder area refilled with activity, but it did. Soon enough, amongst the gently falling snow and dimmed afternoon light, the birds were again flitting in a frenzy of feeding activity - save one.
I could not tell which bird fell prey to the hawk, but I can say that throughout the afternoon, I did not see again the fox sparrow.