Thursday 17 February 2022

The Calm Before the Storm...

Enjoyed an absolutely brilliant walk earlier today. A roughly seven-mile circuit, much of it new to me. It was in the general vicinity of recent Goshawks, so my hopes were high, but reality definitely exceeded expectations. Over the course of four hours I had several sightings, probably on most occasions that I stopped for a good scan. Mostly the female today, but the male at least three times. Like the many Buzzards, they appeared to enjoy the brisk wind. Along with a Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels and a surprise pair of Peregrines, Gos and Buzzard took the raptor count to five species. I don't often manage that without a Red Kite or Hobby on the list. I even got photos of all five. A few of the less awful ones...

The female Goshawk. The spotty/streaky underparts indicate a 2cy (2nd calendar-year) bird.

Female Peregrine

Female Goshawk - typical view!

The male Goshawk. Prominent white undertail coverts visible even in this tiny image.

I thought it might be quite instructive to make a comparitive collage of the Sparrowhawk and female Goshawk. I suspect the Sparrowhawk is a female too, but cannot be sure. As I was only interested in the silhouettes really, here it is in B&W...

Sparrowhawk above, Gos below. Not to scale.

There was plenty of other stuff too. Two Marsh Tits, a sprinkling of winter thrushes, single Siskin and Jack Snipe; all in very scenic countryside.

One of the Marsh Tits

I've really enjoyed poking around in spots away from the coast this winter. It is quite hard work, but the rewards have made it more than worthwhile. That said, the previous couple of days have started with a short seawatch from West Bay. Apart from a Red-throated Diver and a meagre helping of Kitts, Gannets and auks, it has been quiet. I'm still waiting for my first Common Scoter of 2022.

Storm Eunice arrives tomorrow. There'll probably be a Common Scoter in the garden...


  1. A splendid day Gav. Do you seawatch from the pier, shelter or somewhere along the beach more quieter? Hope you don't get it to bad down there Gav. Stay safe!

    1. From the shelter, Tony. There's usually quite good protection from the weather there. Maybe not from storm Eunice though! In fact I wouldn't be surprised if the seafront was actually a dangerous place to be tomorrow...

  2. A great result on your stroll, I've yet to record a goshawk even though there are a few good sites around here. I must try harder.

    Today I shall mostly be recording birds flying backwards.

    1. Yes, I think you're in quite a prime area for Goshawk Dave.

      So far today: 1.5 fence panels flying backwards.