Hen Harrier

I set off this morning with the hope of seeing and possibly photographing a hen harrier in East Yorkshire.The hen harrier has been the subject of much debate recently and these magnificent birds are becoming more difficult to find.

I started off at dawn at Stoney Creek and viewed a magnificent sunrise with little egret bar tailed godwit and peregrine falcon the first decent birds of the day.

As the sun rose more birds became active and there were several large flocks of fieldfare feeding on berries on roadside hedges.

There were quite a few kestrel, plenty of curlew and a single marsh harrier flew north west along the Humber.

I had a drive through the narrow roads of Sunk Island using the car as a hide and saw good numbers of roe deer feeding in the fields.

Next stop was Welwick salt marsh. I parked up near the track to the river bank and again fieldfare were the most prevalent bird.

As soon as I reached the top of the bank I flushed a female hen harrier and she quickly moved off south east and began hunting over the salt marsh. 

Another marsh harrier flew in and began to hunt over the salmarsh flushing a male hen harrier! it flew parallel with me for a while then looped and came back over the fields before being lost to view.

This brief encounter enabled me to get some reasonable shots, but despite the conditions looking favorable, that was it for the rest of the day.

It clouded over at around 3pm so I headed back to the car adding sparrowhawk and merlin to the list of raptors for the day.

I was well pleased with my first attempt of the winter and will be heading back in the near future.

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