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April 16th

I see a few Common Buzzards in Happisburgh most years and this afternoon, as I let Ossie onto the garden, I wasn't surprised to notice a brown, medium sized raptor with obvious pale windows towards the end of each wing circling overhead. It was a Common Buzzard and I watched it for a few seconds before scanning for anything else that may be overhead. I immediately saw another, a quick check through the binoculars confirming it as a second Common. When I scanned with the naked eye again, I was quite shocked to see a stack of Buzzards circling quite low, just beyond the end of our garden over Lessingham. Bins raised, I counted; six, seven, plus the original two... that's nine. Bins down, there were more! In total, I counted 13 of them, all soaring and gaining height. I had never witnessed such a large flock in the county before, my previous best being six on an April evening at Ebridge Mill whilst out with my Dad and Keith Bailey back in the 1970's. There was quite a lot of low, scuddy cloud around, as there has been on and off for several days, into which some of the Buzzards soon began to disappear. It seems that they then topped out of this particular thermal, for they followed a westward glide until some half mile west of our house where they found another and began to spiral up once more. Again, some of them vanished at times into the cloud base, but I'm fairly certain that all 13 of them drifted off to the north-west. As to their origins, I don't believe for one second that they were 'local' birds, although it is possible that a minority were, so it is likely that they were true migrants that may have got lost in the low 'sea-scud' and drifted across the North Sea before re-orienting northwards. It will be interesting to see if any further significant Buzzard movement is noted over the weekend.

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