This website is best viewed using Firefox v.3



February 19th

Once again it's a dull, grey day, rather wet too. Wednesday had given a brief hint of the Spring to come, especially when the sun broke through late in the morning and the day was almost approaching gloriousness. With many birds singing forth ~ Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Chaffinch, Mistle Thrush and Blackbird all noted ~ and the numerous bulbs that are breaking through, testing the air temperature it seems, there was definitely a flavour of better times ahead. Since my riverside walk it's been a quiet time for me, although Chinese Water Deer have featured most days on the dog's walk and a fearless Muntjac was openly browsing a farmers crop (or the weeds in between) in the afternoon sunshine at East Ruston midweek. I have, however, been rather fortunate on the larger raptor front and chanced upon Common Buzzards, and both Marsh and Hen Harriers on my travels. Driving to work one afternoon a Buzzard was airborne over the A1151 at Beeston. Pulling over to check it out through the sunroof I could see it was a Common, slowly drifting over with another bird a little higher up. They were both typically dark looking adults with pale horseshoe breast bands. The following afternoon a quick venture along the Cart Gap road was rewarded when a male Hen Harrier came through, hunting the boundaries to the fields where I'd seen Merlin at the beginning of the month. It wasn't quite a full adult, showing some brown immaturity on it's mantle, but was a stunning bird nonetheless. Driving home about 4pm yesterday an adult female Hen Harrier was seen passing low over fields at Brumstead. She was probably making her way to a roost in the Broads, looking for a last meal on the way. Rather worryingly, a field over which she passed is the intended site for two large wind turbines. Marsh Harriers were noted at Ingham, where a Rook with a white seconary feather in each wing was also seen, and passing south over fields in Lessingham, the latter a fine adult male.

But back to Buzzards. I had to go to North Walsham on Saturday last, and passing through Ridlington it was snowing rather heavily. A Buzzard was over fields to the north of the road, quite high up, and a Crow was intercepting it. I pulled over for a look, thinking how large and long winged it appeared to be, but was only treated to a rear on view as it disappeared into the mini blizzard. Coupled with the apparent size, the strange Harrier-like demeanour to it's flight profile suggested that it may have been a Rough-legged Buzzard, but views were just too inconclusive. I had no time to follow it up but later on, when the weather had cleared, I tracked through Witton and Ridlington in the hope of relocating it. I did see Buzzards, five sightings in all of perhaps four different birds, but all were Common. Brief views of a possible 'good' bird that has to go unidentified is a frustrating part of birding, but the moment still makes up a square in the patchwork of birding memories. Bob was out and about too, and he noted two more Common Buzzards over East Ruston. He also managed to find and photograph two that I had already seen perched in a dead tree at Witton as they enjoyed the warming sunshine, oblivious to the nearby barrage from pigeon shooters.

Common Buzzards, Witton - 13.02.2010. Bob Cobbold

Having seen a Rough-leg not too many miles away on the last day of 2009, it is quite possible that one is quietly wintering in the area, so I shall be keeping a lookout.

Addendum ~ The Buzzards kept coming! We had to visit Coltishall this afternoon and whilst passing Wayford Bridge I could see two Commons floating over the marshes opposite the Woodfarm Inn. Ten minutes or so later, as we were leaving Hoveton for Coltishall on the B1354, another Common was heading north, low over fields at Belaugh.

No comments:

Post a Comment