Wednesday, 9 September 2009

On Raptor Watch


Well, yesterday's hot weather and strong SSW winds gave way to a new cyclonic Northeasterly today, the first time the wind has switched to this direction in over three months. It remained fairly warm and very cloudy to the south of the Chilterns but in the north it was cooler and completely clear. I decided to do a long raptor watch, particularly as Stuart Winter had seen two separate European Honey Buzzards in neighbouring Bedfordshire and at least two others were also reported.


Sadly, an adult Fallow Deer was ran over and killed on the B489 just north of the Beacon at SP 959 171 (record for Mic Wells)

Viewing from peak of Pitstone Hill - 1300-1710 hours

Very slow but with an ongoing passage of COMMON BUZZARDS - a total of 8 individuals seen, following the line of hills west from Whipsnade and veering SE along the ridge, roughly following the course of the Beacon Road. Most were this year's juveniles. Four of these birds arrived together at 1654 hours, followed shortly by two HOBBIES and two RED KITES (at 1701 hours, thermalling in the same kettle).

Virtually no visible migration, apart from 25 Barn Swallows and 3 Meadow Pipits.

(1730-1810 hours; with DB and SR)

Despite the excellent conditions and increasing mud, there were still no new arrivals.

Mute Swan (44)
Wigeon (drake still present)
Gadwall (13)
Common Teal (56)
Shoveler (47)
Tufted Duck (105)
Northern Pochard (continuing increase in numbers, with 121 counted, the majority drakes)

RINGED PLOVERS (just 3 juveniles remaining on mud in the NW corner; very vocal and restless)
COMMON GREENSHANK (2-3 juveniles still present)
RUFF (all four juveniles still present, probably all males)
BLACK TERN (juvenile still) (superbly photographed above by Simon West)

Barn Swallows (63)

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