Friday, 7 February 2014

A raptor-ous afternoon

Sunny, 9º, moderate SW. Very wet underfoot to say the least after at least 24 hours of rain and the wettest winter on record.

On the way out to Lollingdon I came across a large thrush flock of 500- 600 birds comprising almost equal numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing and around 100 Starling feeding with them (there is also another thrush flock regular on the village side of Cholsey hill).

On arriving on the south side of the hill a Raven flew over heading west but by the time I got the camera on it the bird was “rear on” and giving a very minimal profile so I missed that one and then almost immediately a Peregrine appeared over the hill and raced off towards Aston Tirrold where it put up around 250 Lapwing and 100+ Lesser Blackback Gulls, then approx 15 minutes later a 2nd Raven flew over and again by the time I got the camera on it the bird disappeared behind some trees.

A little later 5 Red Kite and 3 Buzzard appeared over the hill and spent the next 10 minutes or so just soaring overhead and were also joined by a Kestrel.

On leaving the hill area to the north a Merlin went zipping fast and low across the fields putting Redwing and Fieldfare in to panic mode and scattering the flock and with a Sparrowhawk seen later completed a nice group of raptors seen this afternoon.

Around a dozen Pied Wagtail and 10 Meadow Pipit on a flood on a ploughed field, 20+ Skylark noted including a few in song, 12 Grey Partridge noted (a group 8 and 2x2), and another flock of around 100 Lapwing in the flooded fields near Cholsey SF. 
The gulls were scattered quite widely as most of the fields had some flooding on them.

 Lapwings & Gulls from Bunkie bridge
 Pied Wagtail
 Some of the Lapwing flock put up by the Peregrine
 Fiedfare, Redwing and a Starling

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