Sunday, 9 September 2012

Marsh Harrier Roost: North Duffield Carrs

After yesterdays trip out I seem to have got a bit of my desire back.  Unfortunately there was very few Yellow Wagtail or Meadow Pipit around but there still appeared to be a few Swallow going south. Highlight was a cracking juvenile Marsh Harrier that flew very low right overhead giving super views.

It was another really hot day so the middle of it was spent lounging in the garden, again more Swallow passed south with the odd Yellow Wagtail and Tree Sparrow too.

I decided to go sit in the Geoff Smith hide down at North Duffield Carrs this evening to see if there was much doing with the roosting Marsh Harriers. I wasn't disappointed!  I'd heard that 8 birds had roosted down there on Thursday night which would be a local area 'gathering' record I hear.

I got to the hide about 1830.  The last entry for the notebook was 1730. 3 Marsh Harrier.  It didn't give any specifics regarding age/sex, however on my arrival there was none to be seen, had they already gone to roost?  It didn't take long for the party to get going and it lasted just over an hour.  It started at 1845 when the first bird appeared, and finished at 1949 when the last one dropped out of view.  I gave it another 20 minutes but nothing else appeared.

So how many.... well I'd estimate at least 8-10 roosted, and at least 1 juvenile went straight through (and what about the 3 that were there before I got there?  There was a good mix of ages and sexes and it was interesting to watch their behaviour.  For example an adult male flew straight into the central field and dropped straight in to roost. It wasn't seen again. Several of the young (2nd year birds)/females perched up on fenceposts and sat and surveyed their surroundings before dropping in to roost and the juvenile birds - looking really smart and bright moved around a lot before settling down.

There wasn't too much else doing several geese flocks distantly, looked more like Greylag than anything more exciting. Several groups of Swallow flew south and the odd Yellow Wagtail did likewise.  Two Buzzard and a Kestrel showed well.

It will be interesting to keep an eye out on this harrier roost (until the field gets cut!), fingers crossed it pulls in a Hen Harrier (or better)...

View out of the hide this evening

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