Alarm Bells

We walked among the dunes on our tour of North East Norfolk the other day, and as we did so a falcon swept by us.

It came from behind so it was in view just a moment or two before it dipped out of sight. I got the impression of a Peregrine; but something wasn’t quite right. The bird was bulky and dark; far too dark and far too large for a Peregrine and I may just have seen a telemetry aerial bend away from the tail feathers as the bird banked away behind the dunes.

As we walked on we could see the falcon in the distance towering and then diving into the dunes, even hovering at times as it repeatedly stooped. It was mobbing something. It had found something in the dunes it just did not like.

It wasn’t long before we discovered what it was. From the long marram grass rose the distinctive shape and form of a Rough legged Buzzard. The two sparred as they flew into the distance continuing their spat with both birds ducking and diving.

Some 30 minutes later as we walked back to the vehicle the falcon again did a close pass. This time I fired of a shot confirming we indeed were dealing with a falconer’s bird. It perched, charming little bells rang that were attached to its leg and jess harnesses became visible. The suspicion is that this is maybe one of the eastern race Peregrines.

Someone is missing a costly, not so little, companion.

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Feb 2012


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