1 Jun 2014

Short-toed Eagle, Dorset

Never in my dreams would I have expected a Short-tailed Eagle to turn up this weekend in Dorset. When the mega alert went off y'day morning  and negative news for the rest of the day we thought that was it! With a new car to pick up and other commitments I was slightly relieved. Except if came back to roost in the same tre and was still there at dusk. That buggered all my plans and a hastily arranged twitch was instigated involving the Hilbre Obs Chairman, secretary and the secretary's eldest son.

Leaving my house at 11 pm in the new car I picked them both up in West Kirby and then pointed the bonnet south around midnight.

After a long drive punctuated by the occasional gentle snoring if the passengers  we arrived at the designated parking field around 04.15 and joined the throng hearing off in the first flush of dawn to the viewing point only to find it shrouded in mist. Someone from RBA was either a) still on the lash or b) an insomniac as my phone bleeped with a message from them at 04.40 to say the bird was still there and visible roosting in the same tree it had occupied at sums the previous night.

And there it was. A stunning circaetus vision of forlorness in its tree. Occasionally it moved its head to glare at an intruding corvid, woodpecker of mistletoe thrush but mostly it just sat there.

As tiredness crept upon me and the sun rose I found myself willing it to fly. It didn't and despite feeling like us driven all night with no sleep I daren't nod off in the sunshine and miss the climax of our vigil.

I didn't bother taking the DSLR as I thought we'd be to far away . This is phone scoped in the dark! 

Eventually it did fly and Steve managed these great flight shots! 

After watching the bird disappear in the heat haze we headed back to the car for a well earned breakfast and stuck the stove on for a brew before heading northwards and home. A great day and nice to see some old acquaintances. It was also great to see young Thomas ticking S T Eagle before Dartford Warbler! Aged 11 that can't be bad!

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