Tuesday, 6 October 2015
A male HEN HARRIER at Marlow
Keith Kerr watched an adult male HEN HARRIER hunting Goldfinches over Staines Moor (Middlesex) for the best part of 90 minutes late morning before he watched it fly high NW at 1230 hours. Totally independently, just under an hour later, Adam Bassett discovered what was presumably the same bird as he searched for a Patchwork Stonechat in fields north of Emmett's Farm, on the Marlow Road at Little Marlow. The bird was hunting the game strips before settling down into one of the grass fields. Adam rang me to tell me of his find and I agreed to try and get to him as soon as possible from my position on Ivinghoe Beacon!! Just over half an hour later I had arrived on site and after a hefty walk to the ridge, joined Peter Stevens and his friend Colin still watching the bird as it was flying away westwards. Luckily, the bird was waylaid by a flock of migrant Meadow Pipits, and dropped down into a grassy field west of Winchbottom Lane at SU 863 886. It sat here for some time before being disturbed by a Carrion Crow and then flew back towards Emmett's Farm. Its departure was short-lived though and within 10 minutes it had returned - once more sitting in the grass, concealing itself ever more better as numerous Red Kites circled the area. I tried my best to approach the area it was roosting but it was impossible, making do with photographing the bird at very long range (see above). It was eventually harried by a Red Kite and chased away, gaining height and flying strongly NNW towards Handy Cross roundabout and High Wycombe at 1424 hours. An outstanding local find by Adam Bassett.