Monday, March 14, 2011

open season

While the first Sand Martin back on patch may be 'late', large raptor movements have kicked in with a vengeance, especially today.....

Conditions have been mixed over recent days, but a sunny and mild period on Saturday produced the first Common Buzzard of the spring, low and north over the East Res; similiar conditions today looked promising, and a Red Kite (likewise the first of the season) looked particularly evocative just above the tower blocks and against a blue sky as it drifted east mid-morning. A Common Buzzard drifting some distance to the south added further inspiration.

A 'business lunch' on the roof of Lincoln Court - a neighbouring 15-storey residential block which is luckily also my Obs of choice for the spring raptor season - instantly produced. Setting the 'scope up and scanning north, no less than six Common Buzzards were thermalling together, before drifting north - a record simultaneous count.

Three of the same species ten minutes later some distance away may or may not have involved the same birds, but 'fresh' singles north and east over the next hour or so brought the day total to a minimum of nine, a new day record, and still so early in the season.... Peregrines were pleasingly omnipresent all day, and equally predictable were Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. Five raptor species in mid-March in urban central London will do just fine for now.

and some other photos from the patch over the last day or two; full details here