As expected two species of harriers, Pied and Eastern Marsh were strutting their stuff this afternoon in the local rice paddy; a male Eastern Marsh and two female and a juvenile Pied. Sadly no sign of the magnificent male Pied Harrier but I expect he’s around. There was also one unidentified raptor in the distance which was circling and hovering, circling and hovering: not like the harriers which tend to move in low flying straight lines, not a Black-shouldered, too big and not a Black Kite, it wasn’t an aquila eagle; rounded outer wings, broad enough to rule out Grey-faced Buzzard and a large fan shape tail spreading from its tertials. I wonder what it was!? A baza?
There were at least two Oriental and one Black-browed Reed Warblers in the vegetation that has taken over the irrigation canal. This year it hasn’t been cut, slashed or burnt yet so lots of great habitat for these guys. I rather fancy there were other reed warblers but I’ll spare you the details. Simply a self note to get back soon and check it out.
With such riches it would be easy to overlook the reappearance of the humble Eastern Stonechat, a rather sociable little bird. Many of them are now present in the rice paddy. As I sat, waiting, watching and listening, a Common Kingfisher flashed past and a Brown Shrike took up its vantage point about twenty metres away to check out what I was doing. The noises suggest that there are rather a lot of different species in the vegetation. However I am using my truck as a hide and I am sure if I got out to try and get a closer look I would scare them all away.
Whatever, great fun and excitement in the rice paddy and much more to come.