Friday, 8 April 2011

More raptors

I managed to see a new species for the garden yesterday - Sand Martin (73rd species). Well, to be honest, I have seen several Sand Martins over the garden over the last few summers but never more than fleeting 1 second glimpses. While under most circumstances that is long enough to identify this species' distinctive flickering flight, I have never considered these views to be either sufficiently definitive to be worthy of elevation to Garden List Status. Yesterday that status changed as a line of 4 Sand Martins appeared one after the other dashing westwards just above the rooftops and long enough for me to get my bins on them. Since then I have seen more of this species passing by. The burden of proof required is now lower and I have twigged that since they are low fliers - they will hug the contours even if they are are rooftops...

A couple of nice raptors also passed over today. First a male Kestrel powered low over west and thoughtfully circled once for good measure. With just a handful of sightings each year, usually of distant birds, these are the best shots I have managed from the garden (!). Note that the tail of this bird appears to resemble that of Lesser Kestrel. Other photos show that today's bird had one tail feather longer than the others and its protrusion accounted for this illusion.

The other raptor was this nice Common Buzzard. It is probably the palest bird that I have seen from the garden - quite unlike most other individuals that I have seen in the area. It looks to me like a 2nd calendar year bird with its smart juvenile flight feathers and coverts.

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