Sunday, 18 September 2011

18th September, 2011.The Burgh & Newhaven

We decided to visit The Burgh this morning to see the juv. type Montague's Harrier which has been present for several days. We had a good walk around the area and spent some time looking over the various fields when David picked out a Harrier sitting in a field although distant. It stayed sitting in the field for approx. 20 minutes and I was able to watch it through my 60x zoom lens. It would occasionally preen and show a white rump and also you could make out some rufous trousers. In size it only appeared slightly larger & longer than nearby crows.
It then flew and we were able to watch it for some 10 minutes. It had a very buoyant loose flight as it flicked around various bushes, good long tail which was well barred with broad black bands, very rufous and appeared unstreaked underparts. Wings appeared long and quite well pointed, unlike the more broader rounder Hen Harrier wings. The upper-parts appeared dark brownish with a paler area on the upperwing coverts. Had a surprisingly large white rump. It had a blackish broad boa on the side of the neck but I could not at any time make out any sort of white collar.
The under-wings: Coverts and secondaries appeared overall darkish, the under-wing primaries were chequered black and white and didn't really show a black boarder , I was able to concentrate on two occasions, albeit at a distance, to look for the pale boomerang shape at the base of the under-primaries but there appeared to be no sign of this. In my opinion the bird was a juvenile Montagu's Harrier and not a Pallid which one may have hope for, but a superb individual all the same and very enjoyable to watch it in flight.

We also recorded:
Marsh Harrier 2
Common Buzzard Min. of 12
Sparrowhawk 2
Kestrel 6+
Grey Partridge upto 24
Red legged Partridge 30
Good numbers of Skylarks, Linnets & Goldfinces.

2 Stoats & 1 Weasel.

We then went onto Newhaven Harbour and some stunning views of the juvenile Sabines Gull which has been present in the area for several days.

Juvenile Sabine's Gull at Newhaven Harbour.