Sunday 1 March 2020

Wykeham Goshawks

Due to the incessant stormy weather, February weekends have been a bit of a write-off in terms of looking for Goshawks up at Wykeham. Today was forecast to be very windy - it was - and reasonably clear - it wasn't! I had a look at Castle Howard which was quiet, apart from a few Mandarin and a solitary drake Goosander.

Mandarin and Mallards, Castle Howard Great Lake.

I pressed on to Wykeham, noting a nice flock of c60 Bramblings near Snainton. I stood for an hour at my first spot and saw two Buzzards and a male Sparrowhawk, along with a few flyover Crossbills and Siskins. I heard a Gos calling unseen in the forest, but that was the nearest I got. Maybe the weather was just too grim for Goshawks. On to my second spot, where I had a brief view of an adult male Gos, gliding across the pine canopy, before dropping in to the forest and out of sight. Despite my layers (though lacking a woolly hat - big mistake), I was beginning to get nithered. I should have gone to the watchpoint as I would have been more sheltered! Live and learn...

At my third stop I was forced to hide in the car out of a horizontal icy shower that flowed down the valley like a liquid glacier straight into my face. Whilst sheltering, I noticed a big female Gos sitting in a spruce opposite where I had parked. I jumped out into the galeforce southwesterly and attempted to phonescope her majesty, as she surveyed her realm. Always spectacular, always impressive, the Wykeham Goshawks never fail to take my breath away, no matter how many times I see them.

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