December 25th   Leave a comment

Today was one of the warmest Christmas days I remember. Over twelve degrees for most of the day. The gales were back with some very strong gusts late morning. I was watching the Saucehope flock of golden plover swirling in the wind over the ploughed field next to Pinkerton, wondering at their apparently unnecessary precision acrobatics when I saw a larger bird amongst them. It was flying like a thrush with flickering wingbeats and then short glides with its wing closed. A male peregrine disguising its usual flight to get amongst the flock. I have seen merlins do this type of flight often – like a mistle thrush – but peregrines hardly ever do it. They are just too big to fool anything that they are anything other than a bird of prey with bad intent. The golden plover flock divided and streamed around the peregrine as it banked back and attacked again. No luck for the raptor. Despite its disguising flight I don’t think it ever had the element of surprise and a golden plover can fly as fast and much more agilely than a peregrine. I watched it resume a more obvious raptor like flight and head off towards Wormiston to find another flock that was a bit easier to surprise.



The theme was repeated about ten minutes later on the beach at Roome Bay. I was just lamenting having put up the redshanks on the strandline when a female sparrowhawk appeared, stooping down the cliff scattering the rock pipits and pied wagtails, but missing the already departing redshanks by seconds. I may have spoiled that particular sparrowhawk’s Christmas dinner. But like the peregrine it headed straight off to set up another attack and I quickly lost it, diving into one of gardens in Pinkerton.

Sparrowhawk - if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Sparrowhawk – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Posted December 25, 2016 by wildcrail in Sightings

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