Steart, Greylake and Catcott (Raptors)– 6 December 2013
Steart – early morning
1 Merlin (female, probably juvenile) – appeared from the NE and flew above Fenning Island along the shoreline in a fast hunting flight. Remained in the area for an hour or so
2 Peregrine (adult male and female – apparently a pair) – both were perched on the ground on Fenning Island. The male made about five short flights over the period of two hours and each time returned to perch near the female. The female was hunched down throughout in a way which suggested to me that she may have been sick. Both birds later disappeared.
2 Kestrel – both hover-hunting in the stiff North-Westerly breeze.
8+ Common Buzzard – loafing about in trees on posts or feeding on worms on the ground.
350+ Golden Plover
4 Common Gull
1 Spotted Redshank
Greylake – late morning to early afternoon
4 Peregrine (2 adult and 1 juvenile male, 1 adult female) – located three adults stooping aggressively time after time in turn at something out on the moor, which frustratingly was just out of sight. I observed the female make three stoops and then move away and perch on a nearby pylon. The two males continued for at least 2 minutes and must have executed at least 8-10 stoops each. The aggression seemed far too intense to be aimed at a Buzzard so I'm thinking that it may have been another Peregrine or perhaps a Fox? Later I observed a juvenile male flying very fast above the moor in a hunting flight at tree-top height. He tried to catch a Lapwing by chasing it but, not surprisingly, was unsuccessful.
2 Kestrel – one still hunting from a tree and the other hover-hunting.
14+ Common Buzzard – loafing around in trees, on posts and on the ground. One was a particularly pale morph with snow white underparts.
20+ Common Snipe
2 Little Egret
Catcott Lows – afternoon
1 Peregrine (adult male) – located perched on a pylon. At 1400 hours, he flew off fast and direct on a hunting flight. Up and away he powered into the sky heading into the NW wind. After about 3 minutes a flock of c25 high flying Common Snipe came into view. The Peregrine flew horizontally and intercepted the flock. The Snipe scattered and fell towards the ground like debris from an explosion. The falcon stalled, selected a target and stooped after it. The Snipe dodged at the last moment and the falcon pulled up and stooped again, easily catching up with the vertically falling wader. Two more attacks were skilfully dodged but the predator closed in and swept up the Snipe just before it could reach the ground. He immediately turned, flew back to the same pylon and proceeded to pluck and eat the prize for the next 30 minutes.
1 Hen Harrier (juvenile) – appeared from the WNW and flew low down above the reserve, circled, retraced its flight path and landed on the ground in the middle of the reserve. It remained there looking around and preening for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, an irresponsible woman allowed two dogs to enter the reserve from the drove along the Southern edge. The dog flushed the Harrier, and many ducks and Lapwings too. It flew off NE. Later a ring-tail Hen Harrier (probably the same bird) was seen flying over quite high Southwards.
1 Sparrowhawk (male, adult?) – soaring low in brief sunshine.
1 Marsh Harrier (juvenile) – quartering the area at the Eastern end of the Reserve.
25+ Common Snipe
10+ Meadow Pipit
this afternoon at Catcott 1 ringtail hen harrier 3 marsh harriers, I peregrine ,1 buzzard .plus the many ducks & lapwing,2 black tailed godwits & 50+ snipe