Friday, 28 May 2010

Monty's Harrier

On Thursday I was doing some surveying in Lincs and saw a distant pale harrier in strong heat haze. It looked quite interesting but due to the viewing conditions I wasn't able to clinch ID and then I didn't see the bird again.

A late night twitching the Old Moor Savi's Warbler and a dawn start this morning was not ideal but the rewards were high as on arrival at the site bang, male Montagu's Harrier hunting across the grassland. Over the next 5 hours of the survey the bird was observed several times by myself and another surveyor. As I was walking around doing my transects the bird showed really well, occasionally at close range (c30m). It was observed attempting to hunt Linnets and Skylark and it was giving a rabbit some attention for a while but was not seen actually catching anything. At one point it flew straight at and started attacking an adult male Marsh Harrier. When at close range, and especially when it was making contact with the Marsh Harrier it was clear that there was a substantial size difference between the birds, with the Monty appearing c.1/3rd smaller than the Marsh. All in all a spectacular bird and as always a joy to watch.

A simialr aged bird from France (from Wicked Pedia)

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