20 08 2010

Hawkwatching kicked off at Quaker Ridge today in Greenwich. All in all it wasn’t too shabby for a first day – 14 raptors and a couple of surprises in the shape of a Peregrine Falcon and what seemed to be a very early Northern Harrier.  Harriers always throw you through a loop first up at a hawk watch.

At altitude Harriers don’t exhibit that distinctive tilting flying style that birders usually associate with them at ground level. That flying style is so ingrained into most birders brains that they can barely get their heads around the identification of their first Northern Harrier at a hawkwatch.Of course when they are up high you also often can’t spot the tell-tale white rump which is the other can’t miss Harrier ID marker. Hawkwatchers tend to rely more on flight style and structure than than anything else, especially at distance, and the bouyant flight style, quite pronounced dihedral (whilst soaring )and long thin wings are all keys to identifying this species. Check it out next time you are at a hawkwatch.

You can keep up with daily sightings at Quaker Ridge on Hawkcount (here).



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