Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Pallid Harrier

This bird is a mega-rarity in Britain, with only a handful of records of wandering birds. So, imagine our excitement when one was spotted on Haddenham fen a couple of days ago. I - and a few other local birders - had never seen one before, so it was bins and scopes to the ready, scan the fen, and finally locate it gliding and swooping in marvellous acrobatic flight. It's still in the general area, but I don't think I will go and find it again. I had my blood pressure checked this morning - 80 over 120, not bad for an old scrote - and I don't want to take any health risks where birds are concerned. Or women on tractors for that matter.


Mike & Ann said...

Is this a variant of the hen harrier, or a totally different bird ? It looks too well detailed to be a leg pull.

Old Scrote said...

There are four harriers in our avifauna: Marsh, Hen, Montague's and Pallid. The males of the last three are all grey with various markings. Pallid is closest to Montague's, both being slimline elegant birds in contrast to the heavyweight Hen. The Pallid is smaller and more buoyant in flight than Montagues. In order of rarity in Britain: Marsh commonest, Hen mostly northern Britain, Montagues, scarce breeder, Pallid rare vagrant. Cheers.