Monday, 31 August 2020

South Wales - 27th August

With three possible raptors to be seen and photographed at close range, it was definitely time to return to South Wales for a session at Ian Howells' woodland hide. 

Again an early start was needed to meet Ian at 07:00. On arrival at the hides, it was surprising to come across a certain Mark Chivers, who seems to have become semi-resident here, in his quest for further Goshawk photos! There were two hides available, so social distancing wasn't a problem. 

The day started quite well with the juvenile male Sparrowhawk coming in first, looking quite different from my previous trip in mid July. It's moult was now well advanced and the characteristics of adult plumage, particularly the grey back, were clear. In a few weeks it could be a very smart bird if it is still showing.

While the Sparrowhawk was around, in came a Buzzard which was great to see and photograph as I'd only had a fleeting glimpse of it previously. 

However from mid morning, the weather became a real problem. The forecast for today had been steadily deteriorating through the week and so it proved with around 5 hours of heavy and persistent rain from mid morning until well into the afternoon. Unsurprisingly during this time no raptors were seen. At one point the forecast was indicating rain for the rest of the day but fortunately it cleared and there was even a little sun and calm conditions from about 16:00 onwards. 

Expectations were then high in both hides for an appearance of the star of the show - the Goshawk. But regrettably it was not to be. 

Only the Buzzard re-appeared which was at least something. Thereafter we thought we had better stay until around 19:30 just in case the Goshawk came in late. So over 12 hours in the hide which was surprisingly cool during all the rain. Still the Buzzard pics made it worthwhile...

For a gallery of all my Buzzard photos from this session, with links to larger images, go to this page on my website

Also click on the captions for larger images of those photos shown below.

And finally a couple of photos of the much changed juv male Sparrowhawk from the morning:

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