Monday, June 3, 2013

Uplifting encounter with harriers. 23.5.2013

The Choseley Barns site near Titchwell is always worth a visit and so an early start, followed by a "stake out breakfast" in the car, was accompanied by views of a host of birds in the immediate vicinity. Both Grey and Red-legged Partridges visited the small "dump" adjacent to the processing plant along with, eventually, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Corn Bunting. A walk along the nearby hedgerow-enclosed path produced little, other than common species, but was pleasant nonetheless.

After yesterday's fruitless search for other Montagu's Harriers I travelled for a while to the informal watchpoint overlooking the area where a pair are preparing to nest.  (2013,216).  The female was repeatedly flying to a particular field edge to select lengths of dry vegetation before returning to the location of the nest site a couple of fields away. Excellent telescope views were had of the bird as it sailed around elegantly over the various fields. At one point a sub-adult female appeared and "towered" high above the area in effortless fashion. Almost simultaneously the male bird also appeared with food, which resulted in much gliding around with the adult female and presented a prolonged period of excellent birding.

Finally I moved off in the late morning following a period of rain when activity appeared to have died down and journeyed to the RSPB Titchwell Reserve where I stayed for the rest of the day. It was a day of delights with good views being obtained of a male Red-crested Pochard, a Spoonbill, several Little Egrets and a variety of waders. Prominent amongst those were some absolutely resplendent Grey Plover and Turnstone in full summer plumage. By contrast several Sanderling on the beach showed only partial signs of change. A period of seawatching was disappointing in that it produced almost nothing.

Eventually I moved on to the Holme NWT Reserve in the early evening and besides species I'd seen earlier, like Avocet and Marsh Harrier, I managed excellent views of a Short-eared Owl ( 2013, 217 ) that hunted for quite some time along the main track. It repeatedly returned to a nearby perch after each flight out over adjacent fields and provided prolonged views. A satisfying end to an excellent day.

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