The Search

My mindset changes, unfortunately, when I go out looking for specific species. This morning I was looking for Hen Harrier and it completely changed the game. To be honest I prefer being laid back and lackadaisical, taking my luck and simply enjoying being out. It’s not that I become a monster and knock babies out of their prams as I scurry around…….. It just changes everything. So I stopped for a few moments and made a point of appreciating the cool morning air as the sun started to burn through the clouds.

The only raptor was a definite Eastern Marsh, male, with white and brown upper wings, the white like a dusting of icing sugar on a dark coloured cake; it also showed prominent white uppertail coverts, but I didn’t get a look at its underside. I am glad I can unequivocally say this was Eastern Marsh. I also saw what appeared to be a Grasshopper Warbler, looked like a big Zitting CIsticola, with a lot of russet on its back and a curved, thickish end of tail; it appeared to fly in from the rice plants, and then it perched in the open for a split second and then dived into the scrub aligning the irrigation canal. Maybe it was just that, a big Zitting Cisticola! There were a couple of Oriental Reed Warblers making their presence known by their clack clack clack. No sign of Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker. It is going to be a nice day here. The case against Hen Harrier is building.

In the afternoon I snatched a brief hour on either side of other commitments. Three Pied Harriers showed, two females and a juvenile, but no sign of anything that might resemble a Hen Harrier; also no sign yet of the mighty male Pied Harrier. The case against Hen Harrier gets stronger. However I should manage to snatch an hour or so during the week so I won’t dismiss Hen Harrier cmpletely.

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