Hunter and the hunted
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