Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Six of the Best and One of the Other

Or was it ? . . . . .

Been an interesting couple of days. Yesterday went on a Goshawk watch at probably County Durham's most well known site. A glorious day with no less than seven sightings of at least three birds, including one perched up for a while and another mobbed by a Peregrine.

Other raptors seen were 5-6 common buzzards, 3-4 Sparrowhawks, 2 kestrel sightings of possibly the same bird and 2 sightings of the Peregrine. Numerous Red Kites on the way to and from brought the raptor count to SIX species, equalling my personal best for a single day.

The supporting cast of other birds at the site included Tawny Owl and Green Woodpecker (both heard but not seen) many a curlew, a massive flock of golden plover, singing skylarks and meadow pipits, song and mistle thrush, goldcrest, and what looked like a loose flock of red grouse flying up from the moors towards the woodland, possibly put up by the peregrine (?)
White-tailed bumble bees and a single unidentified butterfly were also noted in a cracking session in the beautiful spring sunshine.

Today started well, when the kids went off to school shortly before 9am there was a chiffchaff singing from the trees over the road. But better still, shortly afterwards I looked out the side-bedroom window and saw this beauty perched up in the conifers next to from where the chiffy had been singing.

A male in his 10th year

Suddenly mobbed by a Magpie.

Then an uneasy truce . . .

 . . . . before letting out a call of defiance.

Now where's that magpie gone ?
"It's behind you!"
"Oh no it isn't!"
"Oi ! No pictures !"

Quite pleased with those, taken through double-glazing at 18x zoom, just shows what a glorious spring day it was again today, but just think of the pictures a proper photographer might have got :-O

 Footnote : After scrutinising photos of a few of the birds we had down as Goshawks on Monday it looks like they were in fact displaying sparrowhawks, a common mistake at this time of year (especially if you're not familiar with the species) as the sparrowhawks' jizz changes altogether when displaying and even the small male can look an impressive size at distance.
Confused now and I'm not sure if I actually did see any Goshawks; gutted but hey. the experience will stand me in good stead for next time.
PS It is definitely a Red Kite though :-O 

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