Last weekend the big brown falcon lay siege to Wennington Marsh/ Target Pools taking up base on the nearby pylons. A big brute and it looked like the falcon seen a few weeks ago. The question is, what is it?
Is it a pale big immature female Peregrine or a hybrid falcon, say a Saker cross? I've got no experience of Saker so cannot add to the hybrid debate. A couple of record shots above. Having seen it on the pylons and then later staring out a Buzzard and Marsh Harrier on the deck from the Serin mound noted:
- Closed wing seen briefly to judge wing tip to tail tip. Looked like wing tip approached or was equal to the tail tip.
- Pale underparts with dense but fine brown streaks
- Pale trousers looked streaked.
- Pale cheeks looked considerably whiter than the underparts.
- White supercilium stronger behind eye forming a wrap around.
- Crown pale with feathers above 'super' looking a bit chestnut in strong light, but looking really white crowned in dull light.
- Dark moustache stripe extensive looked black and appeared to be broader at the tip. Black extending to behind the eye.
- Upperwing brown and uniform.
- Underwing barred and appeared to be uniform, didn't note a contrast between underwing coverts and rest of wing. Pattern close to immature Peregrine shown in 'Collins' guide.
- Tail paler than upperwing and tip looked dark but not black.
- Hunting style. Low level attack frightening anything in its way. Does this style of hunting betray it's identity or parentage?
The Short-eared Owls were as stunning as ever showing well mid morning last Saturday as the mist gave way to low cloud. Several photos below. Less than 100 yards away 3 Avocets graced Aveley Bay and 10 Black-tailed Godwits fed quietly. Later a group of 70 + 4 'Black wits' flew onto the reserve, some acquiring summer garb.
Of note in warmish conditions on the Saturday (12th) was the clear out of say between 500 and 1000 Black-headed Gulls heading high east continent bound during mid afternoon over a couple of hours. A full days count would have revealed a much bigger movement. Similar but colder conditions on Sunday saw no such movement at all.