Thursday, 26 October 2017

Juvenile Pallid Harrier - Charmouth 26 Oct 17

This morning I found a Pallid Harrier AND it was on Patch!! I've been doing some vismig birding high up on the cliffs above Charmouth and have been amazed and inspired to see so many fairly common birds coming through patch in high numbers, 100s of Chaffinches, 100s of Meadow Pipits and a supporting cast of Bullfinches, Redwings, Starlings, Swallows, Wood Pigeons, Linnets in a constant stream. But when I started watching this morning I was not expecting to see any rarities moving through. I was standing, on a cliff and the Harrier drifted past, so perhaps in a way the Pallid Harrier found me rather than the other way around! What a moment! Fantastic!

Location: high, overflying above Charmouth West Cliff, coastal Lyme Bay, Dorset at 09:15

Where and when seen: At 09:15 I noticed a group of Corvids noisily mobbing a bird flying high over Charmouth Beach Car Park. Viewing with binoculars the group was moving slowly along the west cliff line in the direction of Lyme Regis ie westwards.
Observation point: My observation point was at the top of the cliff near and on the same elevation as Lyme Regis Golf Course. The bird was above my viewpoint so all photos taken are from beneath and mainly show the underside.
Viewing: I observed the bird for about 1-2 minutes. On viewing, I ID'd immediately as a Harrier sp. on structure with long wings. But which one? Hen, Montagu's or Pallid? Unusual for the Charmouth area, I therefore took several photos (attached). The last harrier I saw was the Axe Wetlands Montagu's Harrier last year so I'm familiar with the silhouette/structure.
The bird was flying high beneath grey skies and the Corvids pushed it slightly higher so that at one point the bird appeared to enter cloud (Earlier I had noticed that the cloudbase was fairly low around the same elevation as the top of Golden Cap).

As I didn't have my phone with me I dashed home to text local birders and the guys further down the coast so that they could look out for this rarity. I really hope that this super stunning bird reappears further down the coast somewhere. I emailed Steve W @axebirder with a couple of images so thanks again for help with ID and ageing - A Juvenile Pallid Harrier!

Juvenile Pallid Harrier

And some more photos, some where it was mobbed by Corvids. What a morning on patch!

And I'm told that if/when accepted this will be only the 2nd Dorset record of Pallid Harrier. The last being 1938!! (record info. per @brettyebrant)

No comments:

Post a Comment