Braughing - 8th December 14
Weather: Sunny blue skies, slight cloud. Very cold.
Red Kite; Buzzard; Rough-Legged Buzzard; Kestrel; Pheasant; Black-headed Gull; Lesser Black-backed Gull; Woodpigeon; Dunnock (H); Robin; Blackbird; Fieldfare; Song Thrush; Mistle Thrush; Blue Tit; Great Tit; Magpie; Jay; Carrion Crow; Rook.
Today I had a chance to try and see if the Rough-legged Buzzard was still around near Braughing. It had been reported here nearly 2 months ago but today was only the second time I'd had a chance to go. The first time caught me double-booked.
It was also the day that a friend of mine from Lancashire had come down to pay a visit to the Lee Valley. Unfortunately, she took ill with the flu and was unable to make it.
The weather was very kind to us, seeing as how we had booked today in advance. We had almost totally clear skies, with a slight wind, although it was again very cold out.
A good friend of mine, Andy, who lives just up the road from me had indicated that he wanted to try and see the bird, so we all decided to meet up today and go for it. So, just the two of us, drove down to Braughing to try out luck.
It was only a 25-minute drive or so and we soon found ourselves in the area that the bird had last been reported.
Andy spotted a Common Buzzard in the field, just as we arrived. Then, further, on, we spotted 3 Red Kites flying low over a giant haystack. A good start.
There were plenty of Gulls and Pigeons around, slightly distracting us. But then, after only about 10 minutes or so, Andy shouted out and pointed. Sure enough, a Buzzard soared overhead. I was pretty sure it was the RLB but Andy confirmed it, seeing the dark terminal band on the tail.
It flew past us and landed on a tree, nearly opposite us, about 40-50 yards away. We had walked up a dirt track when we saw it. The bird could be seen really well through the binoculars, reflecting nicely in the bright sunlight.
I turned and raced back to the car to get my camera. But when I looked back it had flown further away, landing in the next field. Unfortunately, that was out best view of it. There were 2 more possible sightings later on, but they were most probably Common Buzzards.
We walked further along the dirt track, seeing plenty of Thrushes and a few Jays, before heading back to the car and driving around for another half-an-hour or so. I then spotted another Buzzard perched in a tree, just ahead of us.
Andy pulled up and turned the car around. We looked up and saw it fly further back, along the road. I managed to take a few record shots of it but it looked like it was another Common Buzzard.
We decided against trying to wait it out and headed back home. On the way we added Kestrel to an impressive raptor list.
It looks as if the RLB will over-winter here so there may well be further opportunities to see it.
My thanks to Andy for volunteering to chauffeur me around.