Mysterious bird sighting

Hi There,

I am new to this forum, so firstly just wanted say hi.

I was out yesterday and along the motorway (M3 or M27, I can't remember) I saw a bird I didn't recognise. Unfortunately I didn't get to see any detail, it was just a silhouette in the sky. The bird soared over the motorway and then circled on the other side. When I first say it I thought it was a Red Kite, but when came into better view I could tell it wasn't. I don't think it was a Buzzard because it didn't have broad wings like a Buzzard. It's wings were longer than a Buzzards. It appeared to have a fairly long tail and it's wings were further up the body towards the head. Here is a sketch I made of it. I hope all this is clear. 


  • Hi John,   Sorry I can't be of much help as circling behaviour sounded like a Common Buzzard as I've often seen them close to motorway networks as they look for road kill;     I'm not an expert to guess at other possibilities but wondered if it was another kind of raptor ..............take a look at this link      hopefully, someone else can come up with some ideas based on your sketch.     



    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • If you think similar to a Kite or Buzzard, but not, then one possibility is a Harrier. Marsh Harriers aren't always easy to distinguish from Buzzards unless you have time to see them properly, especially now when they are flying higher than normal to start their dance. However, longer wings and a long body/tail, as you've drawn, might also suggest an Osprey. I don't know the area so I don't know if there are local ones but if some are still passing through on migration they can be seen anywhere. Without a photo though, we can only offer suggestions.


    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Thanks for your comment, most helpful. I like the link-a good read.
  • In reply to Nigel O:

    It is difficult without a photo. Ospreys to fly through near that area. The wings appeared flat so a marsh harrier and buzzard it might not have been. Thanks for your comment, much appreciated.
  • Could also have been a sparrowhawk. Very difficult to form an opinion though.
  • If your sketch is to scale the tail looks too long for a Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier a possibility but the circling sounds wrong at this time of year an Osprey on passage could be worth considering. Often sightings like this end up as a "couldabeena" bird and you never reach any conclusion but good trying.


    Birding is for everyone no matter how good or bad we are at it,enjoy it while you can

  • Thanks for your comment. I think it's going to be one of those sightings that isn't confirmed to be a particular bird.