WHILE Bolton may have plenty of pigeons, an amateur photographer has captured images of a much rarer bird that has been spotted in the town.

Peter Hunter, aged 48, spotted a sparrowhawk building a nest in Breightmet three months ago.

He returned to the same spot — which has not been identified to protect the birds’ safety — to watch as the eggs hatch and the chicks grow.

Mr Hunter was lucky enough to see the sparrowhawk feeding its chicks in Breightmet six weeks ago.

He stood 40ft away on a ledge so that he did not disturb the nest and caught the candid moment on camera.

Mr Hunter, of Slaidburn Avenue, Breightmet, said: “I love wildlife and taking photographs.

“I have never seen a sparrowhawk nest in Bolton though, so I was really excited when I saw it. The chicks looked like little balls of fluff.”

He watched the birds as they grew and on Sunday morning, he caught the last few chicks on camera as they prepared to fly the nest.

Mr Hunter said: “I wanted to watch the birds to make sure they were okay. I tried hard not to disturb them and it was great to watch them turn into impressive sparrowhawks.

“I’m really pleased with the photographs.”

Mr Hunter, who has epilepsy and cannot work , is a keen amateur photographer.

He has previously sent his images to BBC1’s Countryfile programme and sells them to raise money for charity.

Chris Collett, of the RSPB, said: “Wildlife photography is a very popular activity and with a little patience, it is possible to get some amazing images.

“But it is important to remember that birds and other wildlife can be easily disturbed, particularly during the breeding season. So you always need put the welfare of your subject first and ensure that your presence does not have a detrimental effect on them.”