Raptor ID (from a description only)

Afternoon all,

Just going to check if this post formats correctly...

  • OK. So, we currently have a dispersing Brambling invasion, and yesterday visited the roosting site. Numbers far down from the estimated 1.5 million birds that we saw there around a month ago. We're talking mixed, and relatively un-managed forest bordering agricultural land.

    Lots of Bramblings = lots of prey = lots of raptors. In December we saw a few Peregrines, plenty of Sparrowhawks of various ages, and a Merlin (until recently there were five or so overwintering in the area). And, of course, buzzards and Red Kites in attendance.

    We're fairly used (as interested amateurs) to Peregrines now. We saw them throughout the year and have had them mating locally for, say, 5-7 years or so. There's a nesting site 10 minutes' walk from our new place, and we watch the youngsters doing test flights, from the kitchen window. Merlins less so; Sparrowhawks and Kestrels are daily sightings, and have been for many years.

    Yesterday, we had three sightings of a hawk that we could not identify.

    Short arm; long hand. Almost always in active flight; so, always "passing through", and at a higher altitude than Sprawks and Peregrines. Seen head on, or from the rear, the longer hand was obvious, and the busy wingbeats were a little stiff or mechanical.

    The bird didn't glide much (and certainly didn't intersperse glides with powered flight, like, say, a Sprawk), but when it did it did so on flat, extended wings. Wing tips were noticeably pointed, even with wings extended flat out. Wings were slim and long. Tail was noticeably short.

    It was poor light and overcast, so the only plumage details we could pick out were i) noticeable (even in the poor light) white cheek patch, and ii) boldly streaked (dark on a paler background) chest and belly.

    The bird did not land and perch.

    We would say it was a... (well, you know), but they're "not here", so it couldn't have been.

    Any thoughts from the enlightened?

    All the best -
    Dave
  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Dave - CH said:
    Any thoughts from the enlightened?

    Nope, but one (probably rubbish one) from me!

    I've only got the RSPB British book so possibly wrong area, but as you don't say a size (and ignoring the fact my suggestion isn't a hawk) the description of white cheeks. streaky chest, pointy wings, short arm, it sounds like a Hobby looks, according to the books image.

  • In reply to PimperneBloke:

    PimperneBloke said:
    rubbish

    Not at all, PB. I respect your judgement.

    PimperneBloke said:
    possibly wrong area

    I'm not sure that, at this time of year, we've much of a difference re small raptors. We have more Lamergeiers and vultures than you. But otherwise...

    PimperneBloke said:
    my suggestion isn't a hawk

    Sorry, I was using that term in a loose way. It's a raptor.

    I very much appreciate your call. Will hang around and see if there are any other takers.

    All the best -

    Dave

  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Dave - CH said:
    I respect your judgement.

    Then you. sir, are as mad as a box of frogs! 

  • In reply to PimperneBloke:

    PimperneBloke said:
    as mad as a box of frogs

    And who told you my middle name?

  • Hyphenated, of course? Mrs Dave did, when she invited me and Mrs PB over to try out the guest wing 

  • In reply to PimperneBloke:

    PimperneBloke said:
    Mrs Dave did

    I shall take that up with her immediately, accompanied by the requisite glass of wine.

  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Sounds an excellent idea! Enjoy 

  • I'm no more enlightened than PB but I enjoyed the double act. You two should have your own show.
    What was your thinking - a falcon of some sort or something completely different?

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    TeeJay said:
    You two should have your own show

    Would that pay?   :-)

    TeeJay said:
    a falcon of some sort or something completely different

    Yes TeeJay, definitely a small raptor.

    I've already been in touch with the "obs" team here, and they've already rejected our tentative ID as nigh on impossible.

    Just looking for second opinions.