Grey morph Gyr Falcons can be very tricky bird to identify away from their core range. The spectre of a challenging ID and the possibility of falconer’s hybrids is ever present. This juvenile bird seen the last 2 days in N. Lincolnshire looks spectacular! Is it even the same seen at Patrington Haven in Nov, 2013? Graham Catley is keen to hear from those with a working knowledge of the subject. To be cont’d..!
See full set of Grahams photo of the bird: >>>>Pewit Blogspot<<<<
A few quick words!
As I was passing Read’s Island on Sunday evening (9th March) I stopped off to do a quick Avo count but all the birds in the area were airborne; a quick scan revealed the two Marsh Harriers high up amongst the mass of gulls but none seemingly affected by each others presence; after a while I dropped my gaze and on the front edge of the island was what appeared to be a buteo sized pale falcon sitting head on to me! a panic for the scope revealed two distinctly blue – grey looking legs that showed no obvious signs of entrapment, some heavy underpart streaking and a notably pale head; fell for the modern disease and reached for the camera in which time it flew off closely chased by Lesser Black backs but it returned and landed on the back of the island again head on. It looked interesting but my one fuzzy flight shot suggested its upperparts were brown toned with a contrast between forewings and flight feathers and the paler head and nape. it remained distant to 17:45 when the light was going and it flew over the back of the island and out of sight.
Monday morning (10th March) I was back and initially passed over its upperparts protruding above a bank as a juv gull! Views were much better than the previous day and a series of pictures take albeit still at long range with a 500 lens and 2x converter; the upperpart colour seemed to vary but was typically a grey -brown; the legs were seen again with a scope and in photos nothing appears on them; it was mobbed by Marsh Harriers and LBB and GBB Gulls and always seemed to spook the Shelduck which it seemed to have a close eye on — I left at 11:15 but apparently it flew south early afternoon and was not seen between 15:15 and 17:15 — still not sure of the ID myself; I sent a link to Dick F. and wonder if he may actually be in Israel as its March
Graham Catley BSc Env
Ornithological Consultant and Professional Photographer
Director, Nyctea Ltd