Tuesday 31 May 2022

Eleonora`s Falcon

Worth - cool and cloudy, sunny later, light airs - I`m not a great lover of twitching anymore, but the lure of a `falcon fest` close to home, and at a site I`d not visited since the conservation work had finished three years ago, proved too much to resist. RSPB staff had the car parking well organised and thanks to Vicky and the volunteers for a job well done; the field will remain open between 8am-5pm until the Eleonora`s Falcon departs. Together with Chris P we also had distant views of an adult female Red-footed Falcon from the car park that came closer later on perched on a plastic post along with a nearby Hobby. Mercifully, there was only a small group of twitchers when we arrived on the main footpath by Great Wood from where the Eleonora`s was perched sullenly in an ash tree whilst the rain came down. Once the sun broke through the sub-adult pale phase falcon broke cover and put on a five star display flying up and down and overhead hawking insects, and perching out in the open on a dead tree. It was much larger and longer in the wing in flight than Hobby and reminiscent of an Arctic Skua in attack mode. The views were stunning through the scope; my pics don`t do it justice, but there are plenty of crackers on line. 

                                           Sheltering from the rain

                                  Perched in the open after a fly around

                                 Hawking insects overhead                                 

Twitches are often something of a social occasion so it was no great surprise to meet one of my old birding pals from Bedfordshire, Andy Chick who`d driven down from Lincolnshire early this morning with a crew. Good to see you old mate and trust you had a safe journey back north.

                                  PT and Andy Chick

                                  Distant female Red-footed Falcon

                            Breeding wader pool with Avocets, Redshank and LRP

                                 Great Wood, Worth

Back home an evening visit to the bird reserve was notable for good views of Bearded Tits on Cooks Pool and nine Cattle Egrets on the fields that eventually flew to roost on ARC.

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