Harrier-ing the Hare

Pleasant summer evenings have been in short supply this year
so the weather of the last week has been a welcome return to normal service. I had
a walk around the site this evening and the highlight was a superb juvenile marsh harrier.

A flock of eight little egrets flew up from the southern
part of the site, gleaming white and ghostly against a dark background of
trees. A large raptor drifting over the southern tree line had spooked them and
it was a marsh harrier; it’s been a while since I last saw one at Langford so
fantastic to see this bird. It flew down and hunted over Phase 3 and I saw some
behaviour I’d not witnessed before. Flying low it flushed a brown hare and as the hare ran away the
harrier pursued it, swooping down several times and at one point seemed to
touch the hare’s back with its talons. This is what is so enjoyable about Langford
– new experiences at a new landscape. The harrier eventually flew off to the north.

Other highlights of the evening were:

Kingfisher – one fishing on the silt lagoons and one caught a fish in a ditch on Phase 3

Waders – a curlew flew south, a single snipe flew up from Phase 2 and there
were totals of two common sandpipers
and five green sandpipers

Yellow-legged gull – two adults flew north with lesser black-backed gulls on their evening commute to roost at Collingham Pits