While waiting for a train at Cardross station 20th August 2019 with a good view of the nearby Clyde estuary we observed a large dark raptor repeatedly hovering over the shallow water just beyond the sand. Unfortunately we had no binoculars but the bird had a larger wingspan than the gulls (herring?) that were mobbing it. It had rounded wingtips and was clearly not a falcon, too big and wrong shape. Coloring was difficult to determine but it appeared quite dark. Could it have been a kite?
Hi Redrider, I'm not an expert so can only add my own ideas about the bird you saw. My first thought from your description of large (dark coloured) raptor, larger than a gull, is that it could have been a Common Buzzard (which vary in colour from a pale variant to darker varieties) and they do hover occasionally but wouldn't associate them with hunting over water, whereas I'm not sure a Red Kite ever does hover. If you saw the tail, the Red Kite has a very distinctive fan/forked tail which acts almost like a rudder. A Buzzard has a fan shape but not forked. Wait for other forum members opinions but I would rule out a Kite due to the fact you said it was hovering. Kestrels also hover but they are smaller than the size you thought it was.
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654