Saturday, 23 September 2017

A Summer in The Private Lives of Honey Buzzards.

So It's now officially autumn, even though though it has felt like that for some time now it was only yesterday when watching the news channel & weather, blurry eyed at 05:00 as I sipped from that first cup of tea the day that the weather reporter was announcing autumn. It made me think back on the summer of 2017 and how it was undoubtedly the best HB season I have had (so far). 

Some days were just a pure privilege to be sat out, feeling the warmth of the sun from above, with a great view ahead and a pot of tea on constant supply, however it was'nt all sunshine as some might say, with real long days waiting and sighting's being being extremely few and brief, a deluge of rain in early August really didn't help settle the nerves either.

Above shows the male of one pair I spent a lot of my time with this year and below shows the female of this pair. 

Some days the activity was just cyclical with over head views and fly-by's just leaving you wanting more. I watched this pair from start through to finish literally, with this male displaying on territory in late May, waiting for this female, who herself had a delayed arrival. To a single juvenile in flight over the home wood flying in a way that could only be descibed as "enjoying the freedom of flight", The August bank holiday Monday I was sat with another (MD) and even at 19:00hrs in the evening this male was still as active as ever flying in with food. 

As the time grew, so did the list of other species and it must be said that Spotted Flycatchers just seemed to just grow and grow in numbers with so many fresh young around, Redstarts also seemed to fare well, as did Great Spotted Wood P's, Firecrests, Coal Tit's, Willow Warblers and Chiffies also held their own. Hawfinch's often flew by and small parties of Crossbill also flew overhead at times.

A juvenile Marsh Harrier passing through on migration late in the season was only my fourth on Forest. Hobby's continued to show but the numbers are so low on forest these days, The local Common Buzzards got several young off, with Goshawk patrolling the skies of area, which always gave cause for concern, Sparrowhawks provided entertainment with fresh juveniles sparring with each other and Tawny Owl's heard calling throughout the day was always a welcome sound. Fallow Deer seemed to accept my / our presence and were at ease when I or we were sat there as they just cautiously walked by along their usual route.  

I hope that these birds make it back to their wintering grounds and then return next year but May 2018 seems like a lifetime away and so for now, there is more to be getting on with before the year's end but I can't see the year of 2017 going down as anything other that "A Year in the private lives of Honey Buzzards" 

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