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Old 05-06-09, 11:49 AM
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Default Sparrowhawk, Or ....?

I live in the middle of the boglands of Co. Leitrim. Miles from anywhere.

Yesterday, I was just walking up to my feeders, funnily enough, when something caught my eye through a gate in the hedge. Brown bird of prey.

Old eyeballs locked on. Onboard computer spins and whines. Message on the screen is flashing " Sparrowhawk .........? " And it's that " ? " that forced that last, gargantuan bit of effort from the eye / brain combo. Something about the jizz .....

" Aha! Look at that white rump band. Yeppers. That's definitely white. Definitely on the rump. Definitely a very distinct and proper band. Now go check That in Collins and get on with ye life. "


See where I'm coming from? Do immature Spar's demonstrate rather perfect white, rump bands? (I'm not talking a few white feathers here) Or was it likely a juv. Hen Harrier?

What does the panel think?

Cheers!
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Old 05-06-09, 04:34 PM
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It does sound like a Harrier, if it was a harrier it should have looked much larger than any Sparrowhawk though. Two species of harrier regularly occur with white rumps, Hen and the less common Montagu's Harrier. The rump on the Hen Harrier is usually large and square while the Montagu's Harrier is usually narrower like a band across the rump. A lot more information would be needed to make a 100% ID on the bird. If it was Sparrowhawk sized, could it have been a partial albino with a white rump? Sparrowhawk and harrier's fly in a totaly different way, how was it flying? It's too early for a juvenile harrier, it would have to be at least a 1st summer bird

cheers, John
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Old 05-06-09, 05:57 PM
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A couple of months ago I was on the bank of the Blackwater river, and two birds, like you have described, flew past, over the water, upstream. They were kestrel size, dark brown with a white rump band. They flew low and steady. I only got a glimpse. Couldn't figure them out.
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Old 05-06-09, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebeltern View Post
A couple of months ago I was on the bank of the Blackwater river, and two birds, like you have described, flew past, over the water, upstream. They were kestrel size, dark brown with a white rump band. They flew low and steady. I only got a glimpse. Couldn't figure them out.
Flying along a water course the way you describe they were more likely waders (possibly Curlew, Whimbrel maybe?)

cheers, John
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Old 05-06-09, 11:32 PM
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Cheers, John. I actually read ye reply as it was posted. Only, I got called away just as I tried to respond.

No. I can only conclude that it must have been a Montie's Sparrow Harrier!

Damn, but nature can throw us some crafty ones, eh? I mean; That rump band was just that. A Band. Nothing square about it. I locked onto that and used up my full two seconds of observation time in etching that band into my minds eyes memory.

But, here's the crippler; I'd switched from " It's a Spar' " to " Get something else on this one! " mode, in a split second, as ye do. And I did that because the bird just seemed a tad small for a Spar'. Maybe I was just wrong then? It was probably perfectly normally Sparrowhawk sized? Only, no way was it Bigger.

I'm intimately familiar with Hen Harriers. I've seen a Montie. This could only ~ rise taking as it may seem ~ have been exactly what ye suggested there; A Spar' who just happened to have some leutistic (or what ever the word is for 'partial albinism') feathers which just happened to perfectly match the markings expected on a Montie.

Just a freak of nature, sent to excite and confuse us. Double damn!

Cheers, mate
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Old 06-06-09, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clydebirder View Post
Flying along a water course the way you describe they were more likely waders (possibly Curlew, Whimbrel maybe?)

cheers, John

I'm fairly certain they weren't waders. I think the reason they flew up the river was me disturbing them. I could see their bird of prey characteristics clear as day. Anyway, I'll keep an eye for a second sighting.
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Old 06-06-09, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebeltern View Post
I'm fairly certain they weren't waders. I think the reason they flew up the river was me disturbing them. I could see their bird of prey characteristics clear as day. Anyway, I'll keep an eye for a second sighting.
Hi rebeltern, I would be interested if you see these birds again. The only birds of prey with white rumps are female or immature harriers and they wouldn't be flying together, they are very solitary birds and they certainly wouldn't let you get that close before flying off

cheers, John
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Old 07-06-09, 06:34 PM
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Pigeons maybe!
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Old 07-06-09, 07:20 PM
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Rebeltern? I honestly think ye've cracked it!
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Old 08-06-09, 07:57 AM
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Most of my 'exciting' sitings end up being pigeons! "Jesus! What's that??...Oh, pigeon." Though I'm improving at a slow pace, I would be a lousy witness.....never mind birdwatching!
And even though I'd swear they were two birds of prey I saw, now that the facts aren't adding up, I'm cracking on the stand and thinking "did you see pigeons, you foggy nobber?".
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