Saturday, 23 June 2012

A window in the foul weather of late allowed for a 5 hour full patch walk this morning, in which some sunny spells made it feel quite pleasant, if out of the still quite brisk wind. The total species recorded for the day was up on recent full patch walks, with an excellent 50 being tallied up, and that was without the likes of Bullfinch, Long Tailed Tit, and Mistle Thrush, which I would have expected.
Robin - regular species :-)
The morning started out quite ordinarily, I ticked off all the usual suspects, WREN, STARLING, MAGPIE, CHAFFINCH, WOODPIGEON, GREENFINCH, JACKDAW, GREEN WOODPECKER, SWALLOW, GOLDFINCH, BLACKBIRD and CARRION CROW, a dozen in under 2 minutes as I walked along Ashes lane. A LESSER WHITETHROAT sang from the Greenhouse Grounds, as did a BLACKCAP, which had at least 2 recently fledged young with it, the COMMON WHITETHROAT also showed well here with its youngsters.

Crossing Migrant Alley towards the College Grounds, HERRING GULL, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL and BLACK HEADED GULL were seen going over, also the KESTREL pair and a SPARROWHAWK were seen hunting, a few swifts, were circling high up, the ever present ROOKS fed amongst the sheep and a SKYLARK sang. Arriving at the College Grounds, more regular species were found, BLUE TIT, GREAT TIT, COAL TIT, GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, PIED WAGTAIL, SONG THRUSH, HOUSE SPARROW, COLLARED DOVE, JAY, DUNNOCK, GOLDCREST, ROBIN, CHIFFCHAFF, and the SPOTTED FLYCATCHER in that order, on the ponds I found the MOORHEN family, then two GREY HERONS flew low over, allowing these photo's  :-)
Grey heron
Grey heron
I walked back through Migrant Alley to head for the Tree Nursery and then on to the Lakes, stopping to watch a around 20 HOUSE MARTINS feeding around the sheep pasture, the most seen here all year. Stooping briefly at my sky watching seat, I chanced to look NW and saw the unmistakable and exciting flight of a harrier species coming straight at me, at first it was around 500m away, but as it neared me it veered off and into the sun ( as usual) I got good, but mostly silhouette views of it, and  could see it had long thin wings, and manged to pick out a white rump, a ringtail harrier! But what type? I fired off a few hurried photo's, and looking back at the view finder initially thought Hen Harrier, but after getting on the computer and looking at them, as well as spending ages looking on the net at ring tailed harriers I was inclined to record this bird as a Montagu's Harrier, but after much deliberation, and advice from other birders, it will go down as a HEN HARRIER (98,63), still a very exciting addition to my year list!
Montagu's Harrier ? not quite ! 
I finished off the walk by visiting the Lakes and Scrubby Woods, which provided me with views of a female CUCKOO, unusual here in June, NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER and STOCK DOVE were added to my list, as well as the 12 CANADA GEESE, 2 MALLARDS and the COOT family on the lake. On the way home a HOBBY was seen and I finally found a LINNET for the day, dont know where they had been hiding  :-)


Greenie said...

Warren ,
Fingers crossed for your Monty's , but as you say a Hen Harrier would be good anyway .
50 species in mid-Summer , alledgedly , can't be bad .

Warren Baker said...

Whatever Harrier it turns out to be, it has made my summer!

Weather getting better this week - allegedly :-)

Marc Heath said...

I am pretty sure its a Hen Harrier. There are clearly 5 visible primaries seen which fits for Hen Harrier. Monty's shows 4 primaries. A great record though I would say in June.

Jason K said...

Great to get a patch Harrier Warren and a good set of flight photos too. I tend to agree with Marc that due to the 5 visible primary tips it is most likely a Hen Harrier.

Funnily enough I had to submit a written to the Worcs county recorder this week for a ringtail Hen Harrier that I had at Shenstone in autumn 2010

Warren Baker said...

Cheers Marc, and Jase,
It seems Hen Harrier is becoming the most likely candidate, 2 votes for monties on the KOS forum with one for Hen :-)

Neil Burt said...

Great Bird once again Warren. Good photos too and I agree with Marc and Jason - Hen Harrier for me.

Steve Ashton said...

Monty or Hen, still a cracking bird Warren. ( I would side with Hen but what do I know) I agree with you about the recent weather, its been dire for early summer.

Anonymous said...

A brill record whichever of the 2 it is, Warren.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Looks like a H/H to me Warren - well done. Keep it down your way well away from the moors up here.

If anyone hasn't done so please sign this petition to help England's beleaguered hen harriers and other BoP



ShySongbird said...

An excellent spot whichever it was. So exciting to get something on your patch which is either new or not usually seen there, well done Warren!