Not so long ago the view of a Common Buzzard in Kent was unusual enough to be worth getting excited about. Since they first returned to the county and started nesting a few years ago the numbers have grown rapidly. Along with Terry Wood, I was lucky enough today to go out with Rob Clements and Owen Sweeney, two intrepid raptor mappers in the county.
We visited an area that Rob has been studying for a while and had an education in the positioning and structure of Buzzard nests. The one above looks quite obvious once you've had it pointed out but it was quite high and at first could have been overlooked or even mistaken for a Squirrel drey.
This is another Buzzard nest, the size of some of the twigs are rather too large for a squirrel. In several of the woods we heard Buzzards calling and Rob's keen ear was able to separate male, female and juvenile calls.
Although we went round at what Owen described as a quiet time of the day we saw and heard at least 18 Buzzards, mostly at a fair distance. We watch one hovering and two being mobbed by a crow. I've stuck a few of the distant images together. I'm not at all sure as to why the Buzzard population has increased so quickly. It may be that they are less persecuted in their core areas than they were before, allowing populations to grow and then having reached saturation to expand. It might be that the population of rabbits is particularly high and this helps the expansion. What ever it is the sight and sound of Buzzards over our woods is a great addition to the countryside.