Monday, October 24, 2011

A Different Circus

They say a change is as good as a rest so this afternoon I set off for Pilling Moss and a walk around a farm I wander over now and again. The spot has a few sheltered fields and woods and is a useful standby when everywhere else is a more than a bit breezy, as it was today.

This year I’ve seen plenty of Marsh Harriers, both spring and autumn, but one of the first birds I saw this afternoon was a Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus, now probably the rarer of the two closely related harriers. Crows chased the harrier off towards Union Lane whereby it flew fast with the wind and I lost it against a background of trees.

Hen Harrier

The couple of hours turned into a raptor fest with 3 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 1 Merlin, 3 Buzzards and a Tawny Owl. I found the owl huddled up out of the wind in the densest part of an ivy covered tree, the greenery so impenetrable that I tried this way and that to get more than a half photo of the bird but couldn’t. So as they also say, “Here’s one I did earlier”.

Tawny Owl


There was lots of passerine food on offer for the raptors, 60+ Skylark, 70 Chaffinch, 130 Linnet, 5 Reed Bunting, 25 Goldfinch, 11 Pied Wagtail, 15 Snipe, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker and 20+ Tree Sparrow. I almost forgot, 1 Fieldfare and 2 Song Thrush, but a number of Blackbirds.

Peregrines count Columbidae into their food category and there were plenty of those today with 32 Stock Dove and 80+ Woodpigeon. Other “bits and bobs” seen, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Raven and 260 Pink-footed Geese trying to hide in a barley stubble field.


Stock Dove

Pink-footed Goose


Christian said...

A brilliant days' birding Phil and a fantastic Hen Harrier shot (one of my absolute favourite birds). How many Tawny owl shots do you get? Loads! Another cracker here!

grammie g said...

Hey Phil is tough for you isn't : }
Needing a change huh...I suppose a good walk and some bird gazing is better than a nap on the sofa!!
At first I thought you had gone to the circus!! ; }


Paco Sales said...

Unas bellas imágenes de estás rapaces amigo Phil, por cierto, que objetivo usas para fotografiarlas.. un abrazo Phil

Russell said...

A nice day for raptors. I'm always surprised at the strong markings of your buzzards. Nice pics.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

It appears that you had a grand walk and a grand day with those Birds of Prey. Whoa the Hen Harrier is stunning as is that beautiful face on the Tawney Owl. Have a good rest now this evening, you earned it~

Seasons said...

Phil, thanks for your kind comment on my blog. You had quite a wonderful day. The word Harrier immediately made me think of the Harrier jet plane...still no match to the real thing though. Stunning pictures, excellent numbers! Overall a good day at the circus, wouldn't you say? Thanks.

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