Just to make things even more tricky, here is a bird perched on long yellow legs and feet in the thin branches of a tree in bud staring right at us. Any clues of flight structure or even side-on perched profile are lost. We have a ghostly pale bird with a streaked breast and darker rufous belly, The tail is pale grey and appears quite long. The eyes are yellow (so it is not a falcon) and the bill looks small. In fact, the face is almost ‘owl like’, which is a feature of harriers. This bird is too streaked for a male Hen or Montagu’s Harrier, too pale for a ringtail of these species. Female Marsh Harriers are chocolate brown with cream crowns and throats. This bird is a mature male Marsh Harrier.
Pale head and breast becoming darker on belly Small bill and owl-like face, with staring yellow eyes, typical of harriers Pale grey tail Long yellow legs and ‘weak’ feet, typical of harriers