Somerset Ornithological Society - Bird News
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Bird of prey identification

On a walk today I spotted what I take to be a bird of prey but am unsure of which. This was close to Wellington monument in arable farmland beside deciduous and coniferous forest.

It flew from the ground in the corner of an arable field up over the treeline into some deciduous woods.
It was the size of a buzzard, but uniformly grey across its wings and back. I only saw it for a second or two.

I know the colour of buzzards varies enormously, but I have never seen one so grey. Could it be something else?

Any help would be much appreciated,

Re: Bird of prey identification

Goshawk maybe? Unusual but not impossible. If it was I am envious!

Re: Bird of prey identification

Probably male hen harrier.

Best Wishes,

Re: Bird of prey identification

Those were the two options I came up with...

Aren't goshawks very very rare though? And I wouldn't expect to see a hen harrier in that habitat

Re: Bird of prey identification

Ben, I think that your first surmise is the most probable; Common Buzzards are extremely variable, from Osprey to RLB look-a-likes through a whole range of gradually darkening colour-morphs to some with strong rufous tones in their upper tail – resembling a Steppe Buzzard, while a few juveniles show mid- to pale-grey upper wing-coverts with grey-flecking across the back.