9.9.19 Montagu’s Harrier!

An overcast day with a light wind that meandered from various points on the compass.

The main event of the day was the Montagu’s Harrier (which has been present since Saturday 7th) finally showing well early afternoon. I initially saw it whilst out cycling on the 7th, without optics and was unable to definitively ID it. I alerted local birders to the presence of a “Harrier sp” and returned promptly to search for it but couldn’t relocated it. Then on the 8th, Liz Charlwood saw it again and identified it specifically as a Montagu’s Harrier I spent a little time searching that evening with no luck. It was then reported from the Birling Gap area by Colin Holter at 10am on the 9th, it then showed very well at 13:30hrs for around 40 minutes, mainly favouring the rough field just to the east of Shooters Bottom.

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Showing very substantial blackish tips to the outer primaries in this shot, which is a very pro Montagu’s feature when eliminating Pallid.

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Although this bird seemed well marked about the head, the impression of a boa is weak, the pale surround of the eye appears substantial with the dark “cheek” markings. minimal. Again, pro Montagu’s.

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Above, the pale marking around the eye appearing dominant over dark areas, slight barring of axillaries and long black tips to the primaries, all pro Montagu’s features.

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Whinchat opposite Shooters.

Other bits included 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Wheatear, 3 Whinchat, a around c200 Hirundines (mostly Swallow with a few House Martin) moved east and a surprisingly large flock of c20 Swift were over the hollow at about 17.30hrs.

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