Tuesday, 17 February 2015


Back in the forest, full of nervous anticipation with the sunny conditions following yesterday's rain, surely a good forecast for some hawk action. Sure enough, just after nine, two Goshawks got up across the valley and began lazily circling, occasionally coming together, talons outstretched in light-hearted sparring. As they came nearer, I realised the birds were both immatures, with darkly streaked buffy breasts. They were joined by a male, another immature, but he soon cruised off west. One of the females landed in a larch but was very distant and a bit concealed. A little later, I came across the two females and the male again, the latter recognisable as he was missing an inner secondary on his left wing. They showed brilliantly for ten minutes, chasing each other around, mock stooping and talon grappling. Eventually, they tired of their games and split up, one female heading north past me on one side, and the male tracking a similar path but on the other side of me.

I headed off to look for other birds, and after a fruitless hour or so, spied an adult female displaying over the pines. This was a real treat as the bird was pretty close and flew lazily along over her territory, with stiff, harrier-like wings, and huge white puffball undertail enhanced by her tightly closed dark tail. She flew up and down a couple of times, before heading off west. Cracking!

A bit later, I retraced my steps and soon saw one of the immature females together with the gap-winged young male over the ridge. A Peregrine appeared and clashed with the female Gos, at one point chasing her rapidly down the slope - pretty brave as she dwarfed the falcon! She landed out of sight in the trees and the falcon headed off high. The male Gos in the meantime headed straight across the valley towards me and past by within 100 metres or so, providing stunning views through the scope.

Back to my starting point and I had brief views of an adult Gos which I took to be a male due to his size. He glided along the top of the pines before landing out of sight. Nearby, an adult female Gos suddenly appeared chasing one of the immature females. Due to the whiteness of her underparts looked almost like a different species from the immature she was chasing. She chased the young bird persistently all the way along the ridge and into the distance. Presumably these adults are trying to clear last year's young out of their territories.

Also seen today were about six Buzzards, some Golden Plover and plenty of singing Skylarks and Siskins.

No comments: