Thursday 27 October 2016

Raptor round your finger

I've been up and down to Portland this week like the number 1 bus, chasing shadows mainly - specifically the shadows of a male Red-flanked Bluetail and a female Pine Bunting. Both of these major rarities were trapped at the Bill in recent days - see here for stunning photos of them wrapped around the fingers of Martin Cade - and while the chances of either sticking around seemed slim, with a few days off work this week it would have been rude not to head down in the hope of seeing them. In the end I saw neither but there were some photogenic fowl to be enjoyed nonetheless. Raptors put on a particularly fine display with six species seen. Photographic highlights below.
This female Hen Harrier has been around Portland Bill for over a week
I bumped into it on several occasions on recent visits
It was often mobbed by corvids - though gave as good as it got on this occasion
Against the sea off the Bill
Banking in response to another corvid attack
Rare to see this species so well...
...though difficult to photograph without the clutter of fence lines...
...or vegetation in shot
Well that's almost artistic
Hen Harrier
This Buzzard was also attracting attention from corvids - here with a Raven 
Male Kestrel hanging in the breeze off the West Cliffs this morning
This Peregrine cast a bulky shadow
The classic flying anchor shape
This juvenile Peregrine has a colour-ring - will be interesting to see where that comes from
Finally form Portland a very distant record shot of a Merlin
Sparrowhawk was also on Portland though this one was photographed at Durlston earlier in the week
And to close the raptor theme, this Marsh Harrier was at Swineham before my visit was so rudely interrupted by news of a Pine Bunting on Portland!

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