Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Full Monty!

A juvenile Monty's Harrier honest!!
Following info via the LROS website, a text from Andy Mackay and a phone call from John Hague I drove over to Burrough Hill CP, as Andy was watching a Harrier Sp flying over the hill.
As I got to the hill fort I saw Andy scoping the bird over the nearby pines, joining him I picked up the Harrier as it flew away down the valley.
Although it was a Harrier but what species could it be, was it a Juvenile Monty's Harrier or even possibly a Pallid Harrier?!
Andy had taken a few record shots of the bird and it looked pretty good for a Pallid Harrier, which was good for me as it would have been a county tick.
At this point we were joined by Steve Lister and Andrew Harrop who had just missed the bird as it flew over the ridge.
Over the next half an hour or so the bird didn't show and we thought that maybe the bird had buggered off to the south. Andy left us to go home and check his photos of the Harrier to see if it was a Pallid Harrier?
Then all of a sudden I noticed a Harrier Sp flying just behind the nearby ridge of the hill and I got Steve and Andrew on to the bird, but the id was still inconclusive!!
At this time Ben Croxtall and Iain Tidmarsh turned up and I told them that the Harrier had been seen again over the nearby ridge and within five minutes the bird reappeared below us in the cornfields at the bottom of the hill.
This time the ID was finally clinched as the group happily watched a Juvenile Montagu's Harrier flying slowly and then landing in the nearby fields.
For the next twenty minutes the Monty's sat in the field eating some carrion and then slowly flying around the fields until we lost it from view.
As it was a county tick for most of the group everybody were pretty happy at the sighting.
The bird wasn't a county tick for me but I must admit Montagu's Harrier is probably my favourite Raptor.
I phoned John again to let him know that the Harrier had reappeared and he would be on his way after he finished work.
So in conclusion an excellent bird for Leicestershire and I must in the future check Burrough Hill CP more often as it seems to produce some excellent sightings from very little coverage by the local birders.
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