Earlier this year, at the end of May , I watched an eagle sp almost dead overhead, video attached. The bird appeared completely dark (into the light) with a widely fanned tail that was invisible at some points of the circle. It was a not a raptor known to me. Later on, I concluded that it might have been a Lesser Spotted or a Spotted Eagle. It was one of some 12 species I watched in an intensive 3 day period at the end of May there, including Bonelli's, Short-toed Eagles and all 3 Harriers. Not bad for a site only an hour's flight from Bristol! Other (mainly breeding) species seen in various trips late May/ early June include Great White Egret, (Spoonbill later in year), Night Heron, White Stork, Purple Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Sacred Ibis, Bluethroat, Tawny Pipit, Bonelli's, Cetti's, & Melodious Warblers, Nightingales & Hoopoes (common), Redstarts, Long-eared Owl, Little and Kentish Plover.
On return to the UK, I reviewed my video clips and noticed a black raptor that was briefly captured on video nearby (the site was only about 1km away). I was videoing a Buzzard species which I was not satisfied was a CB (later seem hovering, but not a STE I don't think). I surmised that the black raptor may have been the same species that I had seen thermalling, but was clearly a different individual, as it had numerous feathers missing or damaged. A still from this video is attached: I hope you can open the file. Seems to work with Realplayer.
I submitted the attached record to the CHN (the French rarities committee): they concluded the birds were Common Buzzards, a species I see almost daily here in Clifton and also watched daily displaying over the Moeze Oleron reserve! I was astounded, but maybe such treatment is commonplace?
From my less than ideal material, would anyone familiar (or not) with the species care to express an opnion? I am intrigued that this species might migrate up the west coast of France via Gibraltar (there have been reports there in recent years): I have watched similar unidentified raptors in the nearby Brouage marais in previous years at this time of year.
As a PS, I am wishing to obtain a DSLR or HD video camera for the primary purpose of identification recording, as opposed to photograhic excellence. This means that portabilitity (must be always with me and easily used, ie not a Canon with a huge 500 lens) and cost is important. The video camera I used in France this year was not HD and had only a 10x zoom without digiscoping. The focussing was impossible without an eyepiece I am wondering about the Lumix G1 (or GH1) with a 45-200 lens (equiv to 90 -400mm) plus converter. Does anyone have experience of this set up?