Hunter and the hunted

Bird Watching (UK) - - #my200birdyear -

Most of our birds of prey, in­clud­ing owls, are gen­er­ally eas­ier to pick up, for most of us, in win­ter (with the ex­cep­tion of the sum­mer-vis­it­ing Hobby). Num­bers of some species (in­clud­ing Short-eared Owl, Hen Har­rier and Mer­lin) are boosted by the ar­rival of con­ti­nen­tal birds over the North Sea in au­tumn and into the win­ter. But birds of prey, in­clud­ing the three al­ready men­tioned, also spread out from north­ern and up­land ar­eas and spread over south­ern and low­land ar­eas, for the win­ter months. Now is the time to look for one scarce and ex­tra charis­matic hawk which is mainly a win­ter vis­i­tor, the Rough-legged Buz­zard. It is a buz­zard with a shape some­what re­sem­bling an ea­gle, which seems to think it is a Kestrel, ha­bit­u­ally hov­er­ing (even more so than most Buz­zards). Look for the over­all pale plumage, dark belly patch and par­tic­u­larly the largely white tail with a dark sub­ter­mi­nal band.

Male Hen Har­rier

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