I was ushering Patsy123 up the drive of Stately Zip Mansion this afternoon - she's off singing her little heart out again - when a large bird-shape took off and flapped silently but quickly away. Too quick for me to decide what it might be. Somewhat tawny and a bit mottled, I thought.
As we got to the gate, we noticed we were treading on a path of downy feathers. More and more greeted us as we walked out onto the pavement and then, right in front of us, lay the remains of a freshly killed pigeon. It's head was mangled and the feathers had been torn from its breast, showing the bare red skin.
It's an upsetting thing to find a dead bird at any time, but more so when it's just happened and at your own front door. Patsy123 was visibly shocked. I take a more sanguine approach to these things, but I was sorry to find it. Even more sorry that we'd inadvertently scared off the predator, whose right to eat is just as great as the pigeon's and who now would have to find another meal.
I marked the corpse's position with a white outline and disposed of the body.