That's from Ted Hughes's poem The Hawk Roosting. You are probably unaware that I am a poncey poetry-reading nonce but you don't know me, and this post is about the hawk, not me.
Dick Forsman gives a great tip for separating distant flying Sparrowhawks and Goshawks; very helpfully he suggests- ''Corvids react very differently towards Sparrowhawks and Goshawks: Sparrowhawks are often chased and mobbed in flight, whereas at the appearance of a Goshawk, the birds shit themselves with fear, then drop dead from the sky like H5N1-infected Pochards.''
Great stuff- my type of bird. So Miss Fuller and I drove off somewhere very, very secret where these arch-assassins are known to breed, because we need to see it for this year-list thing we're doing.
There were other species we wanted to see along the way and we met with varying levels of success- in other words, we either saw the birds or we didn't.
I'll let Katie tell you how we did because Match of the Day is about to start.................