Monday 28 August 2017

Leith Hill, 28th August 2017

I didn't make it to the first proper autumn Leith Hill Tower vismig session a couple of weeks ago so made sure I attended the session this morning. I joined Matt P, David S and Steve C, all in high hopes that the next Surrey mega would be around the corner... It turned out to be a quiet first few hours, apart from a couple of waves of House Martins. Birds around the tower itself provided a welcome distraction, including two of both Spotted Flycatcher and Marsh Tit, plus a Firecrest. By the time the other birders were getting ready to depart mid-morning, our highlight was a couple of southbound Sand Martins and two Grey Wagtails heading the other way. An immature Grey Heron also flew through.

With David already gone, Matt and Steve were packing up their scopes just as 'raptor time' was due to begin and it was kicked off in style with a juvenile female Goshawk which appeared just in the nick of time. We watched it jostling with a male Sparrowhawk for about ten minutes before it landed out of sight in a stand of pines a couple of kilometres or so away. I was left to my own devices and soon picked up a Yellow Wagtail, two Red Kites and a Hobby. Buzzards were out in force and I put down 40-ish in my notebook, this including a flock of 14. I was glad of Paul S's company for the rest of the watch, during which we watched further waves of House Martins go through, including a rather worried-looking flock bomb their way north, only for the Hobby to appear hot on their tails a couple of seconds later!

juvenile female Goshawk (below) with male Sparrowhawk (photo: Matt Phelps)