Northern Harrier in Cambridge

A Birding Frontier

by Martin G.

We have a bit of a logo thing going with these so I thought I should go and have a look at this one…

Managed to see the Ouse Washes young female Marsh Hawk last Friday, 2nd Nov. Views not close enough to see very fine details but impression was… impressive. Wish I had found one that looked like this bird James! Read James Hanlon’s finders account with some excellent feedback here. Personally I think we are still learning the ‘limits’ of what will be acceptable when trying to identify these which I waffle on about here.

Garth Peacock has obtained some stunning images. Visit Garth’s website for these and more. Thanks to Garth, a selection of his images taken on 25th Oct 2013 with couple of James’ at end to showcase features interesting (to me at least) for ongoing research and referral :).

Northern Harrier14 Ouse Washes RSPB 24.10.2013 GPJuvenile female Marsh Hawk. by Garth Peacock taken 25th Oct 2013, Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire.

Features on this bird? The wing pattern is spot on for hudsonius and the overall impression of head pattern and underparts is equally seeming beyond extreme for European cyaneus. The only disputatious character as far as I am aware is the slightly more extensive pale areas around eye. Perhaps at the more ‘extreme end’ of that character for hudsonius. However taken as a whole. It fully looks the part of Marsh Hawk to me, based on all we have learnt so far. I can also see some other potentially useful pro- hudsonius characters… to be explored further.

Talk of hybrids? Nah. How many hybrids of European X regularly occurring American vagrants (of similar or sister taxa) have I seen it the UK?  They are very very rare.

Northern Harrier13 Ouse Washes RSPB 24.10.2013 GP

Northern Harrier11 Ouse Washes RSPB 24.10.2013 GP

Northern Harrier12 Ouse Washes RSPB 24.10.2013 GP

Northern Harrier10 Ouse Washes RSPB 24.10.2013 GPJuvenile female Marsh Hawk. all images above by Garth Peacock taken 25th Oct 2013, Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire. More of Garth images.

IMG_8119 JH

IMG_8253 JHJuvenile female Marsh Hawk. images above by James Hanlon taken  on the day he found this bird, 20th Oct 2013, Ouse Washes, Cambridgeshire. More on James story here.

There are also more photos and ongoing discussion on the Cambridge Bird Club Website.

 

 

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