On Thursday 6 February three horticultural staff and I had the very special privilege of watching an adult female Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus having a long bath in the pond in the Chinese Hillside. I first saw the bird from the lowest of the three bridges at 9.40 am when it was perched on a log at the south edge of the pond. She then got down from the log to have a drink at 9.41 am. Then she began to have a long bath that lasted until just before 9.54 am when she flew up into a tree, had a quick preen and then flew deeper into the bushes at the east side of the Chinese Hillside. During her bath I called three gardeners over to watch with me as she was oblivious to us, completely engrossed in her ablutions. The water in the Chinese Hillside is very clean and, because of that and the thick cover surrounding it, the pond attracts a lot of birds that come to drink and bathe, but that was the first time either myself or any of the three gardeners had seen a Sparrowhawk bathing there.
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