Sunday 31 January 2010

Rough-legged Buses

Doing the Dad bit, headed over to B&Q in Yarmouth for paint yesterday and then swung by the marshes on the way back for a look at the Rough-leg. Very icy and snowy following Friday's dump, but beautifully sunny. Adelaide quickly decided she was turning into an ice cube and promptly screamed the woods down. We arrived at the viewpoint to be told the buzzard had just flown out of site. Fortunately ham sandwiches took our toddler's mind off frostbite for ten minutes, just long enough to see the Rough-leg fly up on to a post. A typical bit bulky buteo, with a frosty gold head, and big white tail base. Shortly, the screaming restarted with renewed vigour, so I had to cut short out trip and head back through the woods.

Sunday dawned bright and frosty, so picked up Reg and headed back down the marshes. Chris Baker was there on arrival and had already seen the Rough-leg in the usual area. After a few minutes, it flapped up off the ground and on to a fencepost. We had reasonable views for the next hour or so, but frustratingly the bird preferred to sit on the grass, and was often obscured. The best views had were in flight really. Mid-morning as my fingers and toes were virtually falling off due to the biting wind blowing straight in our faces, the Rough-leg decided to go for a fly. It headed east past the little copse and to our surprise pushed an unseen Buteo off the deck. This bird then flew round past the copse, revealing a big black belly and carpals, and a screaming white tail base. It was a dark and frosty unlike it's buffy mate. It pitched on to the grass, exhibiting classic shaggy trousers, the typical 'tent shape' (as Reg put it). Bird One landed nearby in an ash tree. This bird then flew past the second bird and landed nearby on a gate. The new bird wasn't having this and flew after it, culminating in a talons out scrap in the grass. The new bird was left sitting in the grass and the original bird flew off south a short way. Meanwhile a smart Hen Harrier flew past close-to. Awesome! The new bird looks like an adult male, as it is small and dark, with barring on the tail, though I am not expert in ageing and sexing Rough-legs.

Rough-leg #1

Rough-leg #2

The fight

Following this fantastic action and a new bird for my self-found list, we headed to Yarmouth to note Med Gull ring numbers and take a few photos in the stunning sunlight.




No comments: