I continue to obsess over Honey Buzzards and have been looking on Google Earth and OS maps for vantage points overlooking habitat in an attempt to find unknown summering or even breeding birds. Today it paid off and I watched a dark, unbarred female circling over woodland before sparring with a Red kite and moving off. 3 Hours later it returned, showing very well and perched in a tree, preening for 10 minutes; Not the behaviour of a migrant, I will therefore be keeping an eye on the area and not sharing its whereabouts except with the county recorder.
Month: June 2022
28/06/22 3 Honey Buzzards
Moderate SSW winds, a clear view over to Calais and I had Honey Buzzards on my mind. I even texted Jacob S at Dunge to say today is ‘Perfect HB conditions’, if only it was a little earlier in the month I thought. But despite the late date Colin J and I had 3 fantastic Honey Buzzards arrive at South foreland during the space of an hour after the first at 10.01 am (right on queue)
The First bird, a partly unbarred pale female came in low from the direction of the lighthouse cliffs, circled and gained height then flew WNW.
The Second bird came almost exactly an hour later, picked up out over the sea it flew along the cliffs and inland at st Margarets, circling over John N on his balcony. An intermediate female with more barring than the first bird. It got some hassle from the gulls and a Peregrine too.
The third bird came in just after this one, and a little closer, a darker female which again was picked up out over the water and came in, circled and flew North, which is pretty much what they all do here.
A thrilling bit of birding and brings my personal total of HBs this spring here to 5 aswell as equalling my best day count locally of 3 in June 2020 just before we moved down here. I have continued to obsess over them and seeing them arrive over the water is exactly the views I crave. Always leaves me wanting more though!
June is coming to a close and we’ve mainly been locked into SW airflow, things have been quiet in terms of birds. With very little to report despite daily ventures up the cliffs, an increasing number of Swifts and smaller numbers of Barn swallows all moving west on each visit but little else.
Local Peregrines have fledged 2 chicks this year, with another pair down the cliffs also rearing 2, all noisily learning about life.
Im seeing good numbers of Hummingbird Hawkmoths, there were 3 in my garden yesterday and i counted 5 feeding on vipers bugloss near fan bay.
Orchids too are providing entertainment with many Spotted, Pryamidal amd Fragrant Orchids and only a few Bee Orchids all of the latter are over now.
So until the bird situation changes (perhaps with the SE wind this coming week) This blog will remain a little dull Im afraid!
21/06/22 Basel ’22
My annual work trip to Basel concluded with a pleasant morning spent looking for Honey Buzzards from Castle Landskron just south of the city.
A few HB sightings of mostly distant birds except a nice barred male that gave good views.
Just as I was about to leave I picked up a Short Toed Eagle heading my way. Not quite the species you’d expect in such a lush and forested area and it seems its a scarce bird in Switzerland, especially north of the Alps with less than 10 records per year.
The blog has sat quietly since I found the Sardinian Warbler and now I am about to go away with work for 2 weeks. I have neglected to mention that Hawfinches have been seen in small numbers in the valley and just west of the lighthouse recently, also 2 Turtle doves and 1 or 2 Spotted flycatchers have also been recorded. 165 Swifts flew west a couple of days ago but things mainly seem to have slowed down. June is still a fantastic month so it ‘aint over yet but Im happy to have moved some attention to butterflies/flowers and moths plus the local breeders: a Pair of Peregrines along the cliffs have fledged 2 chicks with another pair still feeding large and demanding little ones, surely days away from making the plunge.
Ill be back late june for a final throw of the dice!