Friday, 14 March 2008

Jingle Bells

It isn't often that you hear a bird sounding like a bell outside of South America, but in this case it wasn't a call but two small "falconers bells" on the legs of this falcon.
I watched it for a while and it wasn't long before it attracted the attention of two young Peregrines passing through the area.
The large escapee looks very like a Lanner Falcon to me, and most people who have seen it or pictures of it think that it has a lot of Lanner genes in it. Unfortunately falconers often cross breed birds while continuing their anachronistic pastime. It is a big bird and moved a great speed.
The two Peregrines and the "Lanner" put on a good show for a good while and must have rivalled the Battle of Britain pilots that are commemorated locally in their flying skills.

As the Lanner follows a Peregrine you can see one of the jesses protruding behind it.

The young Peregrines tired of the chase and moved off after providing some great entertainment.

The morning started with the first Chiffchaff of the year singing in the garden, with a second bird calling nearby while I was checking my moth traps. Only two moths, a single Hebrew Character and Common Quaker . A Chiffchaff was also calling at the Monument.


Kingsdowner said...

Great shots - hopefully I'll glimpse the falcon (or hear it) soon.

Benjamin Young said...

The falcon really is impressive! I was looking over the edge of the cliff, and it was merely a few feet below me! My guess is that it is a lanner too, and it looks like a juvenile. Kingsdowner- a reliable place to see it is near the Bockhill Monument. It hung around there for an hour.

Tony Morris said...

I should have said that it is a juvenile and that to some extent is what makes it difficult to be certain that it is pure Lanner. As I said there are many hybrids kept by falconers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I would say no lanner in it but more likely peregrine with either saker or gyr in it. A guess would be peregrine x saker.

Tony Morris said...

I've had some expert opinion that the bird is most likely a Saker x Gyr. This is what Peter Wilkinson said
"Nice bird. I'm pretty sure it is Gyr x Saker. Putting into words why I think that is another matter;

- it is much too massive to be Lanner and too much more like a Saker.
Gyr x Lanner do exist, but I think they are not a common combination. I have seen at least a couple (though one was a tribrid with Pere in it as well) and I just don't recall them coming out like this.

- you could almost see this as a pure Saker, but it is very deep
chested, large billed, large eyed and with a pretty flat forehead, all of which tend to point to Gyr influence.

- it isn't incidentally, one of the three birds that escaped in Kent
almost a month ago, all of which are apparently much whiter.

Unfortunately, identifying hybrids is not a precise science! They can be
very variable.

Hope this helps.


Peter "

I think this pretty well defines the problem and the answer.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Peter is certainly one of the most knowledgeable people on birds I know and it was he who told me on the phone about these pictures. Sorry to say though after consulting with several other people who have and do fly all these species this is not a gyr/saker but either a pere/gyr/saker or pere/barbery falcon must most likely a pere/saker.
Has anyone seen it since the 15th?
If i could post pictures i would show you these hybrids to compare.

Tony Morris said...

Thanks, I've taken the duplicate off (no disrespect). Any chance of a signature, It's difficult posting to an anonymous person!

Anonymous said...

Sorry not registered with Google. Like I said i know Peter who put me on to these pictures.
The names George Duncalf.
Fenland Bird of Prey Rescue.
Have flown Peregrines, gyr/sakers and I am breeding pere/sakers amongst others.