|pale morph juvenile Honey-buzzard|
Watching the bird through the binoculars and scope it became quite clear to me that it was a pale morph juvenile Honey-buzzard. For one thing, it was very pale on the underparts with fine markings on the breast and quite a long, fan-shaped tail. The tail noticeably had two bars near the base and a terminal band. The underwing pattern was striking, with the carpal patches standing out against the largely plain off-white coverts, and three evenly-spaced bars on the flight feathers along with the dark trailing edge and wingtips. The bird's behaviour was a give-away too as it flew on consistently straight wings, only occasionally giving a gentle downward push with its wings. It sometimes raised its head and peered round, and twisted its tail in kite-like fashion. Still, even though I'd noted all this in the field I was cautious (better than making a tit of yourself by being pre-emptive) and posted a couple of pictures on Twitter for others to confirm I wasn't seeing things, mainly because I've seen very few Honey-buzzards indeed and never a juvenile... I was quickly re-assured that my ID was correct (I should have more faith in myself) and I celebrated my first patch Honey-buzzard, after missing two very closely over the last twelve months or so!