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Marsh Harrier, RSPB Pulborough

At first it looked like a buzzard, scattering the wigeon, teal and pintail at this West Sussex reserve. Then it banked to show a creamy white head and its true nature. It must be said that a juvenile, and maybe a female, marsh harrier has similar colouring to a dark morph buzzard so one does need the head for a positive identification. That or a good sighting to get the harrier’s quartering behaviour.

My bird landed straightaway and disappeared behind low scrub so
I didn’t get that luxury. I wondered if it had found a meal when it didn’t reappear.

This interlude followed stunning views of a female peregrine falcon, to the extent that this crappy digishot was possible (where does the yellow fringing come from?) I had to use my iPhone because my camera now discharges batteries within minutes and is effectively dead. I’ll have to work the poker tables some to manifest funds for a new one.

Both these birds of prey were new for my Pulborough list as were a couple of snipe and a calling crossbill. I may also have seen a female at the very tip of a tree but at the distance she was hard to separate from a greenfinch.

All that was on Tuesday and to continue the raptor theme, yesterday’s trip back from Steyning brought me two red kites. Not up the A34 or along the M4 as one might suppose but through the heart of Hampshire, near Old Winchester Hill. That’s my third record in that area so they are drifting south.

And they made a raptorlicious couple of days.

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