Bird Watching (UK) - - Conservation Hen Harrier -

Which bird are you most hop­ing to see over the sum­mer, at home or abroad? A Bearded Tit, but where is the best place to find one? Mary Bra­zler Hoopoe or Wry­neck would be nice Aaron Mckee Corn Crake in the Outer He­brides in July Euan Buchan I have just read Les Bunyan’s letter (Bird Watch­ing, July is­sue) and have to agree whole­heart­edly with him. Why don’t folk just en­joy see­ing any­thing that’s knock­ing about in­stead of mak­ing your day into a com­pe­ti­tion? I have got to the point now where I try to shy away from con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple be­cause of one ex­pe­ri­ence at Leighton Moss RSPB re­serve. Let me ex­plain. While walk­ing early morn­ing along the cause­way a man ap­proached me, “much about?” he asked. My ex­cite­ment must have been ap­par­ent in my voice, “I’ve just seen an Ot­ter from the public hide, and a pair of Marsh Har­ri­ers.” His re­sponse was “you see them all the time here”. De­flated, I asked him if he had seen any­thing in­ter­est­ing (just to be friendly). He said he’d seen a cou­ple of Goldfinches up near the golf course. “Wow,” I replied, “I get 15 at a time on my niger seed feeder daily, they’re quite com­mon where I live.” Touché I thought. My point, like Les’s, is en­joy what you see, what­ever it is. Mick Cryer It was with some in­ter­est that I read the Q&A from Su­san King (Bird Watch­ing, June is­sue). She speaks of see­ing a Spar­rowhawk eat­ing its catch close to peo­ple. Re­cently, in the Peak Dis­trict, I saw a Spar­rowhawk at ex­tremely close quar­ters. I heard a dis­tur­bance in some dead Bracken. I was ex­pect­ing a Rab­bit, but no. A Spar­rowhawk was in the fi­nal act of dis­patch­ing her prey. Af­ter a cou­ple of sec­onds she saw me, and there was an un­easy mo­ment. It tried to fly twice, but the kill was too heavy. I re­treated a few yards, and, sat­is­fied with this, the bird con­tin­ued to pluck her meal. I re­turned an hour later and all that re­mained were some feath­ers. I am not sure what the prey was. Maybe a Wood­cock? I did not see Wood­cock, but then you don’t do you? This was on the south side of the A57, about a mile from the Lady­bower Reser­voir. There was wood­land be­side the patch of bracken. What do read­ers think the prey was? But cer­tainly, Spar­rowhawks are not phased by hu­man pres­ence. Peter Adams Vis­it­ing Costa Rica soon, so the Re­splen­dent Quet­zal is num­ber one on the list! Mur­ray Shields I would love to see Ca­per­cail­lie, or a Lit­tle Owl Sean Black­more I’d love a Night Heron or Squacco Heron in the UK, seen plenty in France Greg Dawes

Hen Har­rier

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