Raptor Fest at the Haven

A brief two hour walk along the canal path with my wife this afternoon turned out to be a real Raptor Fest. There was a real Spring feel in the air for the first time this year. The resident Barn Owl was a nice early bird to see; hopefully I will get the chance to shoot some hunting shots this breeding season. A female Kestrel then followed hunting close to the Posbrook floods. A Carrion Crow behaving like a raptor was next; not quite sure what the bird was attempting to do but it was chasing and diving on feeding woodpigeons, following Sparrowhawk-like a particular woodpigeon into a nearby patch of scrub, grabbing for, but missing the bird.

We then sat down for a brew and almost immediately all the Teal and Wigeon in the nearby fields erupted into flight. As I stood up I could see the Havens wintering female Marsh Harrier over the reedbed.

Marsh Harrier, Titchfield Haven, 21 Feb 2009

At one point she flew out of sight and lots of squealing followed but a few moments later she was back in the air with nothing obvious to show for her efforts.

A great bird in a great setting.

I then settled back into my brew and we could then both hear the mewing of a common Buzzard. We looked up to see two high birds spiralling over the reserve. We then saw a smaller third bird; this was a little closer and upon inspection turned into a Peregrine Falcon.

I could see yet another bird even further away than the buzzards. I think it was a distant Sparrowhawk but I was by no means certain. As usual the Posbrook floods held plenty of wildfowl, Inc c150 Wigeon with smaller numbers of Teal, Pintail Gadwall and Shoveler, in addition to a pair of Mute Swans. Robins Wrens and Blue Tits were all in good voice in the canal side scrub.

Mute Swan, Titchfield Haven, 21 Feb 2009

Steve Copsey