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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Out and about in Kent

I recently had a chance to visit a wood in Kent specifically targeting one bird, Goshawk, exceptionally elusive, but I knew they were there having seen them last year.

This year I managed just 2 sightings of a male early morning moving through the wood hunting, the dawn light in the wood was not enough to get a photo of it unfortunately. As the weather warmed up I thought I had picked the perfect day, little wind and unbroken sunshine, I eagerly watched the forest canopy from a distance, waiting for them to appear. During the course of the next 3 hours had a minimum of 5 Common Buzzards, the same amount of Sparrowhawks, a single Kestrel but no Goshawks. I took many photo’s of Sparrowhawk up very,very high and again noted how much variation there can be in wing shape ,size of bird, (especially females) and tail shape. When you have 2 female Sparrowhawks interacting together, differences become apparent, I also must admit I thought that one was possibly a male Goshawk.

All female Sparrowhawks (click on photo's to enlarge)

The trouble and confusion between the 2 species, male Gos and female Spar comes from a number of issues, one of the main reasons, we just don’t get enough Goshawk sightings to get the id and jizz characteristics imprinted into our memory. Seen well, Goshawks are unmistakable, unfortunately most sighting always seem to be at distance. The male that I saw going through the wood and landing briefly was pretty close, even in bad light, there was no mistaking the wing shape, strong supercillium, larger size and a much ‘fiercer’ look.

Common Buzzard with some moult

Goshawk country
Despite the non appearance of any Goshawks going up thermaling over the wood, it was a great day with many interesting sightings from within the canopy.

Orange Underwing

Cock of the Forest

Peocock Butterfly
Treecreepers and Nuthatches were abundant with 2 Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers heard calling from different sections of the wood. Overhead in the Pine canopy Siskin and Lesser Redpolls were frequently seen and heard, calling Goldcrests and CoalTits seemed to be everywhere.

2nd year male Marsh Harrier seen at another site in Kent

I also took some photo’s of some tracks, I have a vague idea of what made them, but would welcome any thoughts on there id.


Very small Deer?

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