Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Not just honey on my toast

A lazy, yawning start to the day, with a large mug of tea and toast with honey. About two hours later than planned I arrived on Epsom Downs, took up an elevated position overlooking the southern woods and farmland, and started scanning. After half an hour it was obvious that there wasn't much doing, with a band of c10 Swallows hawking up and down the valley and just the odd Chiffchaff and Blackcap breaking cover or calling from the nearby scrub. Then at 10.00hrs a large raptor came into view and was at once identifiable as a Honey-buzzard. The light was against me so I could not attempt to age it even though it was relatively close and low. It slowly carried on southwards and out of view. A fine cameo performance. Afterwards there were 6 Common Buzzards, a Kestrel and a Hobby putting on an air show, but nothing to usurp our earlier guest. I have been fortunate in recording Honey-buzzards several times within the uber patch, not the result of great birding but testament to the fact that if you spend a lot of time outdoors and looking up such birds will surely come your way. Here they all are - those in the autumn of 2000 were part of the unprecedented national influx:

2000   Nork, Banstead
             An immature south on 22 September
             Epsom Downs
             Four, circling on 30 September
2008   Nork, Banstead
             A single moving WSW on 19 September
2012   Canons Farm, Banstead
             An adult low then circling SE on 25 August
2016   Nork, Banstead
             A juvenile low then SE on 22 August
2018   Epsom Downs
             A single low S on 15 August

4 comments:

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

My part of Notts is so awful for anything interesting

Steve Gale said...

Keep looking Simon and it will happen!

Stephen Root said...

A reward for all the hours you put in! The beauty of patch-working....(but please send one up here)

Steve Gale said...

It's on its way!