Sunday, 5 April 2009

A Bird in the Air is Worth a Shot!

Visible migration this morning at the Monument was impressive, with lots of finches moving all the time. For full details see the Bockhill page on the KOS Website.

While we were watching and waiting for something major to arrive I took a few photos of the Kestrel that was hovering very close to us.

On this picture you can see the alula just lifting up, it helps the bird prevent stalling, rather like the aerolons on an aircraft.
It seemed to have something lined up on the ground, but when it dropped down it left without any prey and hovered a few yards away.

At around 10 a.m. all the gulls started alarming and flying out from the cliffs directly away from us. This is normally a sign that a raptor is arriving and fairly quickly Jack got onto a Red Kite coming towards us.
As it flew in it twisted and turned showing the remarkably flexible tail.

The bird is a juvenile (one of last years crop), it is paler than an adult with extensive pale streaking on the under body and a pale streaked head.

The pale fine line on the upper wing, formed by the pale tips to the greater primary and secondary coverts is a reliable aging character.

This bird appears to have lost the tip of what should have been the longest primary on the left wing. There are more pictures of the Kite and Kestrel here.

One of the more unusual features of the migration today was he number of Coal Tits around. In total there were 28 counted.

This one was amongst a group of 5 that perched in a bush for a couple of minutes, with the Monument in the background.

At 11 a.m. a group of raptors appeared over Kingsdown Wood, one of them was a Red Kite, probably the same bird, in addition there were up to 5 Common Buzzards, one Rough-legged Buzzard and a Peregrine. With several Sparrowhawks around as well, the sky was the place to be looking this morning.


Gavin Haig said...

Great photos, Tony!

Warren Baker said...

I was feeling well chuffed with my Raptor haul, now i've been shot down in flames!!!

Tony Morris said...

No really, you did very well, we are in prime spot for migration, so we should get a few good days a year.