Special Birds

This afternoon I headed south hoping to see a couple of species that are pretty rare. Usually this trip is done a few weeks earlier and of an evening so I wasn’t sure how I would fare. I arrived at my usual viewing place and got myself sorted for a pleasant scanning session, flask, sarnies and scope were all unpacked. Success after around twenty minutes with a good but brief view of a female Montagu’s Harrier as it flew low over the fields before being lost from sight behind some trees. I then decided to move to a different viewpoint where I was joined by three birders from Hampshire. They had already seen two males and at least one female. Over the next couple of hours we were treated to some great views of at least three Harriers hunting, displaying and it appeared, just flying around. Also seen here were Hobby, Buzzard, Red Kite, Corn Bunting, Skylark, Swallow and House Martin.  I then left the others and headed off to Salisbury Plain where I was hoping to see Stone Curlew. Again I went to a favoured spot and after some careful searching found one bird sat on a patch of bare earth. In the fifteen minutes or so I was watching, it hardly moved at all making it very hard to see. Curlew and Lapwing were heard here and there were many dozens of Skylarks around. Also a few more Corn Buntings, some Meadow Pipits, Whitethroat and a single Reed Bunting. For the first time ever here I didn’t see a Stonechat, certainly a species that has suffered greatly with the conditions over the last few years. There was plenty of other activity around with Gliders and Parachutists overhead and Quad and Mountain bikes on the ground. So we are now halfway through the year and heading for the quietest time for birds. This was the first month this year with no life tick, my own fault as I really haven’t been out much. More effort is required over the next six months.

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