Guest blog by Linda Hammond, Minsmere volunteer

Ours is a small garden with a (disproportionally) large pond. Although there aren’t many trees in the immediate vicinity we have a long hedge along one side which is ‘home’ to a lovely gang of noisy house sparrows. Although we don’t get any particularly exotic wildlife here there’s always something interesting going on. 

We were adopted by a pair of mallards last spring and again this year they turned up one morning in the middle of March with seven ducklings in tow.

For about a week the babes buzzed around the pond like giant whirligig beetles before being marched off into the Big Wide World. We were mallard-less for several days, then Mr and Mrs D turned up – alone. Presumably the many crows and foxes on the marsh had dined well that week. But there is every sign another brood is on the way…..

Just as we were returning to the house, having photographed the ducklings and still clutching camera, this landed by the back door!!

The male sparrowhawk wasn’t much bigger than its prey but it just managed to clear the hedge, carrying its weighty prize into a neighbouring field.

A busy, and often dramatic, time of year in our gardens.