Crowded Airspace

Monday 26th September 2011

It would be hard not to describe today’s short visit to Longham as astonishing. It began well at 2pm, when I heard the familiar croak of a Raven over Hampreston Fields and looked up to find it mobbing an Osprey high above, my second of the month. The bird made a cursory look over Longham Reservoir North but soon made off south. However, scrutiny of the nearby air-space revealed a kettle of 5 Buzzards, with another a little further off, so clearly the breezy day, with some high cloud, was ideal for raptors. A Sparrowhawk soon joined in, soaring upwards, and it proved the first of 4 individuals that afternoon. Whilst I was sitting at the sound end of Longham Reservoir South, having somewhat wearily counted the gulls present (240 Black-headed) and even added up the Cormorants (15), my devotion to duty was rewarded when 2 Hobbies appeared just over Samuel’s Wood, while another soared much higher up, along with some more Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk. Back near Hampreston Fields a Kestrel showed itself briefly and, as if wanting to complete the set, a Peregrine dashed past the Thicket carrying what looked like a Starling. It went on to one of the pylons to pluck it, flushing Cormorants as it landed.

So 6 raptor species, of at least 15 individuals, in one hour. Amazing!

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