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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Marsh Harrier versus Peregrine Falcons!

As it was a bright, pleasant early Winters day, I decided to pop to my local RSPB reserve, Greylake, for an hour or 2 at lunch time.
   After taking a few pictures of the little birds in the car park I walked to the hide that overlooked the reserve. Immediately I was aware of the amount of ducks present, their whistles and calls giving them away before I'd even entered the hide!
  On entering I could see Teal, Mallard, Wigeon and Shoveler, but before I could sit down on a bench and lift a window to look out, the Ducks had taken to the air in huge wheeling flocks! I saw what had caused the commotion straight away, a beautiful Marsh Harrier, passing lazily over the reeds.
   Great timing I thought to myself!
20 minutes or so later, another Marsh Harrier came over, a different one I think, it looked a lot darker. Again, chaos ensued, but this time, through the flocks of duck I could see a very fast bird dive-bombing the Harrier! It was a Pergrine Falcon! Again and again it stooped at the larger bird of prey, and the Harrier twisted in the air in preparation for the aerial attacks, pointing it's talons at the oncoming Falcon!
  Eventually the Harrier was seen off, and I noticed that there was in fact 2 Peregrines! They then turned there attentions to a couple of Crows sitting in a low bush, dive-bombing them too!
  The Falcons then made a couple of low passes at the many flying Teal but failed to make a kill.
One landed on a fence post and stayed there for a few minutes, before the 2 birds flew off in the distance towards the Polden Hills, where they seemed to make a kill! They both twisted and fell to earth, then one emerged again, definitely carrying something in it's talons!
   A wonderful packed hour of birdwatching! I only wish I had a better lens with a longer reach for moments such as these! I hope you are listening, Father Christmas! ;)

Below are some of the pictures I did manage to catch;

   ^ Above ^ - Marsh Harrier being mobbed by a Peregrine Falcon!

 ^ Above ^ - Marsh Harrier..... the bird is at the top of the picture in the 2 bottom shots.

 ^ Above ^ - 2 Peregrines.

 ^ Above ^ - Peregrine stoops at 2 Crows in a bush!

 ^ Above ^ - Peregrine Falcon

 ^ Above ^ - Kestrel. In the top shot it's being mobbed by a Meadow Pipit!

 ^ Above ^ - Wigeon, Shoveler, Mallard and Teal...not sure which duck is the one at the top in the middle with the orange belly!

 ^ Above ^ - Flocks of various ducks put up by the birds of prey!

 ^ Above ^ - Wigeon

 ^ Above ^ - Heron

 ^ Above ^ - Teal

 ^ Above ^ - A pair of Mallard

 ^ Above ^ - top 2, female Shoveler, bottom 2, male Shoveler

 ^ Above ^ - Female House Sparrow

 ^ Above ^ - Dunnock

 ^ Above ^ - Robin

 ^ Above ^ - Starling