Wednesday 19 November 2008

An Unusual Falcon

Today after 48 hours of intensive 'puppy therapy' I'd cheered up somewhat and was thus able to venture out in an optimistic mood. I had decided on Axe Cliff because earlier in the morning at about 9:oo am I had seen a couple of big flocks of Woodpigeons flying over town from my living room window, they looked something like this, in fact they looked exactly like this:

178-ish Woodpigeons taken from on my sofa in living room!

Once on Axe Cliff I saw several more large flocks and many smaller ones, they had more or less stopped by around 11:00 though. I estimated having seen about 2000 in total, there had probably been thousands more earlier. They weren't flying overhead but were hugging the edge of the undercliff and then swinging round into Seaton Bay and over town. Here's some just rounding the corner of Haven Cliff:

More thrilling Pigeons

Apart from these there were very few birds, just a couple of Skylarks and the odd Meadow Pipit. Still quite a few Red Admirals on the wing too.

"Yes, yes, very interesting, but what about the unusual falcon?" I hear you cry. Well I first spotted it coming around the headland from the Seaton direction, straight away I thought it looked too big for a Peregrine and the wings less rakish and pointed, they were much broader and blunt looking. The plumage was brown, with the head noticeably paler with little marking. By the time I had fumbled about in my bag for my camera, unattached the tele-converter, turned it on and zoomed in, I only managed one shot of it before it flew in front of the sun and then below the trees and out of sight. Never fear though it's a brilliant shot showing all the features I've mentioned! Yeah right! As if! Here it is though ( you can see the pale head, it's those few pixels to the top left of the blob) :

Speeding brown blob which isn't a Peregrine!

Before anyone cries wanton suppression, I was pretty sure it was either a Saker Falcon or a hybrid of some sort and I was absolutely certain it was an escapee because it was still adorned with a set of jesses!! Anyone lost a falcon?

Once back at home I was sitting on the sofa enjoying a nice cuppa when I spotted a Black Redstart waving at me from a rooftop over the road, without even leaving the comfort of my sofa I took a quick snap and yes, it's as awful as you'd expect:

"Cooee!! Yes you, the lazy git on the sofa!"

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