Tuesday 7 May 2013

Canons Farm's High Flying Birds

An enjoyable session today. A lot of stuff seemed to be moving high up. If you let your eye penetrate the blue for a few minutes you couldn't fail to pick up either gulls, Common Buzzards, other raptors or Swallows. The first good raptor was a Peregrine passing high north over Green Belt/Ruffett Wood, next two Hobbies showed several times over the patch and somewhere around ten Common Buzzards were kicking around. When standing by Piddly Pond, my eye caught a raptor extremely high up above me. The long-tailed and small-headed profile, plus the relatively dainty appearance made it look superficially like a Sparrowhawk through bins. However, something certainly wasn't right, it looked too slim and the wings were too long and thin... plus it did appear rather big! It was almost directly above me so scope views were not practical (I did try), and I concentrated on taking as many pictures as possible in the hope I could get something out of them. After it had gone I had a quick look at the pictures and wondered whether it could be a harrier of some kind but decided to forget about it until I got in. When I got in tonight it was looking convincing for a harrier, not looking at all like a Sparrowhawk from it's profile. Marsh Harrier was ruled out by the just-visible barring on the wings and the paler brown colouration, while Montagu's and Pallid were eliminated by the five fingered primaries. Everybody on Twitter agreed it was a harrier and almost everybody also narrowed it down to Hen, which is what it has to be with the number of fingered primaries. So, looking like I had a ringtail Hen Harrier today! My second record at CFBW, following a stunning male that roosted on site in November 2010.

Also a pair of Whinchats, three Wheatears, my first May Lesser Redpoll and a Cormorant amongst other bits.