Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Out of an empty sky.....

Thinking back a decade or two, there was a time when I very rarely saw a buzzard on the north eastern side of the Pennines. These days its rare to go out for a day, especially in spring, and not see at least one here. They seem to be commoner than kestrels. That perception might have something to do with the fact that buzzards are so much more vocal, with their mewing cries, than kestrels and so attract attention. A couple of years ago I watched no less than eight buzzards circling over St.John's Chapel in Weardale.

Today we were over on the western side of the Pennines, near Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria, where buzzards have always been more plentiful.



This pair appeared from nowhere just at the moment when the clouds parted and the sun broke through - and as always it was that mewing call that made us look upwards. I could watch the effortless soaring of these birds for hours - they cover such large distances with just a few shallow wing beats.



































They were joined by this tatty-looking individual which had moulted its outer primary feathers, although that didn't seem to have impaired its soaring ability in any way.


6 comments:

  1. With the continuing problem of raptor persecution in the UK, it was most pleasing to read a positive bird of prey story. Many thanks, Phil!

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    1. I've even, on a couple of occasions, seen hem drifting over our garden!

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  2. They have entered our world during the lifetime of my blog. Just a few years ago they were a highlight of our holidays in Devon now they soar above the house daily. I'm told it is due to the retirement of one particular local game keeper....

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    1. It's a delight to see them isn't it?! I suspect that they do pretty well on the rabbits and pheasants that end up as road kill around here.

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  3. It isn't just Buzzards either, Red Kites are very prolific nowadays, Oxford way that is.

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    1. It's wonderful that they have re-establisheded so successfully. Coincidentally, I'm hoping to see some in the Derwent valley in Gateshead tomorrow http://www.friendsofredkites.org.uk/Inspired%20by%20Kites_%20PPP_14.%2002.14_%202014.pdf

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