Posts Tagged ‘Marsh Harrier


High Overhead

It was a notification from friend Andrew that had us looking skyward.

He had been stood on the hill at Northrepps when he’d picked up a Marsh Harrier flying West high-up. When we eventually picked it up as it flew towards us at West Runton it was really high … I mean REALLY HIGH! It was trying it’s best to migrate North and go out to sea but was having a really problem with the strong Northerly wind.

Would we have noticed it at upwards of a 1000 feet above? I doubt it. Andrew can still hear crickets … which gave him the nickname of ‘Dog-ears’. I reckon we should christen him ‘Hawk-eye’


A done deal with a Gloss finish

Sometimes I get asked by people to put a name to a bird they have seen … not always as easy as it seems. The other day however it was a done deal. As I picked up my guests in some very foggy weather for their tour on Tuesday they stated that earlier in their holiday they had seen a bird  feeding in the pasture opposite their cottage which they couldn’t identify. After a brief description it became apparent what they had seen. Something that was like a large dark Curlew but wasn’t in their British Bird book led me to proclaim Philippa and Robert had seen a Glossy Ibis. One had been seen in flight nearby over Martham on a couple of occasions earlier in the week.

I received a text the following day from Philippa to say two Glossy Ibis were now feeding in the field opposite their cottage. Today we called in to see the duo and they were showing very well indeed. I would suspect given their size difference they were a pair. The males are generally larger than females.

Nice to see … plus the ringtail Hen Harrier, six Marsh Harriers, two Green Sandpipers and a Barn Owl at the same site.

2014 01 24 Glossy Ibis Martham Norfolk_Z5A6330


That Marsh Harrier

Remember the Marsh harrier that was found injured and later died?

Well I am (sort of) pleased to say x-rays on the corpse have revealed it wasn’t shot. The hapless bird was probably the victim of a speeding vehicle.

Marsh Harrier


One Harried Harrier

Anyone who is in the remotest way associated with wildlife has an expectation in the eyes of the general public to be some sort of Daktari.

I remember some years ago being presented on the doorstep with a cylindrical tupperware container into which had been prised a Little Owl; a broken winged, one eyed Little Owl at that! I was expected to mend aforesaid owl and rehabilitate it into the wild; an innocent though well-meant expectation. Having said that, I am always willing to help.

Last week I received a phone call from a gentleman in the village who had found ‘A Hawk’ in some distress at the roadside. I was with him within a few minutes but still not knowing exactly with what I was to be presented. Given it had been found close to a road I approached the cat box into which the bird had been placed expecting to see a Sparrowhawk with a broken wing. Sparrowhawks fly low and ‘hedge hop’ to catch prey. Because they fly so low if the bird hits an oncoming vehicle there are no prizes for guessing which gets the worst end of the deal. It was a surprise therefore when I peered into the box I saw a beautiful young Marsh Harrier staring back at me.

I took the bird to Falcon Cottage where I carefully tipped her out onto the lawn. Initial examination indicated the bird had no obvious injuries save for a callous on one foot. The wings appeared to be in good shape but the bird was seriously underweight and probably dehydrated. A trip to the animal hospital at Ridlington was on the cards.

I received a phone call from the hospital the same evening. Both the caller and I shared an appreciation of the animal’s beauty and wanted her to do well. She had been fed and put to rest pending an examination by a vet. It was suggested the callous on the foot had hindered hunting capabilities and she was slowly starving to death.

Update: Sadly she died overnight. Both I and the team at Ridlington missed a hole in the lower chest on initial examination – this may be a gunshot wound – x-rays of the corpse are pending. So sad.

Marsh Harrier

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Mar 2023


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