Friday, 4 January 2013
Rough- leg at last!
On Friday 4th January, before work a quick drive along the B1074 vfailed to reveal the Waxwings Alison A had seen earlier but nice to see Rene B who promised to tweet news of the RLB if he saw it from Fritton. Rene did see it and duly sent text messages out just after 10am, I knew what I would be doing lunchtime! Arriving at Fritton Woods mound at exactly 12 noon, (it only takes 10 minutes drive from work on a good run), meeting Roy R & his wife as I arrived. I also met Chris M who'd just seen the RLB the omens were looking up! I arrived and the bird I was directed to initially, (post right of mill with no sails) I looked at and thought "this is no RLBuzzard its a female Marsh Harrier!", it was a dark bird with yellow cap slim body and perched with its body horizontal on a post A further 2 female Marsh Harriers were seen also. I expressed my doubts but eventually realised that I was looking at the wrong mill and post. I also saw a dark Common Buzzard fly right and out of sight. Meantime straight out, the Great White Egret was flying right or north and landed in the field in full view stretching its very long neck and its long dagger like yellow bill again obvious. Back to the raptors, I realised I had the wrong directions for the RLB and was patiently re-directed to a white topped mill with no sails and the gate just right of this. On the right of the gate were 2 posts on the left and 3 on the right, the 3rd most "post" was NOT a post but the RLB, it was really distant. Increasing the zoom to 60X on my new scope it really came into its own. The bird shifted around showing a greyish head, the subtle shaded of grey- brown on the back and body plus the darker black patch on the lower underparts area and also distinctively, the white at the base of the tail, it was indeed the excellent Rough- legged Buzzard. I had finally seen it on my 8th visit!! Later the Great White Egret appeared in the field right in front of the RLBuzzard and at one time through the scope I could see the Egret, the Rough- leg and a Short- eared Owl flying by, quality birds of the highest order! During the period of observation first 1, then 2 Short- eared Owls flew left and behind it 2 single Barn Owls flew past too. At this point Paul & Jane F suddenly appeared from nowhere! Later, the Rough- legged Buzzard flew left a short way and I saw the white base to the tail and the dark black band at the tip as it flew a few metres and disappeared below the ground level obviously flying down and landing into a dip. this was my cue to go as half an hour had elapsed since I first arrived and I was due back at work.