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Buzzards by the score and more...

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Old Tuesday 28th August 2007, 20:46   #1
halftwo
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Buzzards by the score and more...

Today the local Buzzards staged a spectacular over my own Raptor Watch Point. (ie my back garden!) First 15 circling & drifting west. Then a singleton & then nine more.
Meanwhile four young Kestrels fought for aerial supremacy with the local Jackdaws & Rooks around the church roof & steeple.
A Sparrowhawk flew by. (Are you keeping score?)
A Hobby, high up & fairly distant went west, circled as, from west to east, two more Hobbies came by it underneath, turned and stooped at 45 degrees accelerating as they disappeared beyond my horizon.
The first Hobby continued to drift away.
12 Buzzards drifted back eastwards, as high as the bottom edge of the low cloud, occassionally flying into the murk & back out again.
Another Sparrowhawk flew by.
A Jay, in the nearest tree, called a perfect imitation of a Buzzard; then a cat's miaow; then flew away!
Ah, what a pity I had to go to work...

H
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Old Tuesday 28th August 2007, 22:20   #2
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great Day hey
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Old Tuesday 28th August 2007, 23:13   #3
halftwo
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Thanks Terry, that was just 8 'til noon!
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Old Tuesday 28th August 2007, 23:26   #4
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Great garden Terry
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Old Wednesday 29th August 2007, 19:33   #5
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Not the exact address-but where abouts in Cheshire are you ? Do you allow tents or caravans in the garden ?
Seriously where abouts are you to see all these ?
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Old Thursday 30th August 2007, 10:48   #6
halftwo
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Hello David,
You can googlemap my postcode if you like WA130QT.
That was an exceptional day but I always see the 3 common raptors here, in varying nos.
Sept. is the best month when the Buzzards flock together to reinforce territories & meet their neighbours and most of Cheshire is good for this.
They often get up very high, depending on conditions, but will also display in autumn and squabble with non-territorial young.
I suspect the Hobby young are now on the wing, (hence my 3 together) so for another month you have a greater chance of an encounter. They aren't guaranteed anywhere in any given day.
Young Kestrels are often around St.Peter's church, Oughtrington, currently (not a nest site) & hovering around Spud Wood & surrounds, occasionally interacting with Sparrowhawks.
Here's a tip though:
I have learnt to distinguish the varying reactions of Swallows & House martins to Hobby, Kestrel & Sparrowhawk, and know what is about to appear by that. Sometimes I don't see the raptor but know it has been through; especially with Hobby which they distinguish from Kestrels at extraodinary distances.
Watch out for organised panic in which they all begin to co-ordinate flight-direction & rapidly gain height; all the while making quiet alarm calls - House martins are especially vocal for Hobby. You will get up to 30 seconds warning before the Hobby arrives. It is very difficult to calculate the approach direction from the reaction (I think depending on distance from the approaching raptor) but sometimes they begin by flying away from the Hobby. At other times, if they have enough warning & the raptor is low, they actually fly towards it IF they are already higher than it. The Hobbies can be very high up sometimes - a mere speck in the sky.
If a Sparrowhawk is approaching the Swallows make it very obvious by continuous alarming & will follow the raptor even making dangerously close passes. If it is up high they alarm similarly & flock together following the raptor's progress, they will also mob a perched bird.
For Kestrels panic & alarm is very short-lived amongst the hirundines.
PM me if you fancy a meeting up one day. I do work shifts & half of weekends though.
By the way - a friend of mine who has a boat on the canal saw 5 Kingfishers within a short trip from here, presumably post-breeding season has brought them back already.
Good hunting!

H
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Old Thursday 30th August 2007, 10:54   #7
Ruth Daniel
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I had 13 circling over my garden last week (& posted about them here) .......must be something about Cheshire!!!

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=94391
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Old Thursday 30th August 2007, 12:04   #8
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Ruth,
I can't access you thread, which one was it in?
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Old Thursday 30th August 2007, 12:05   #9
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Sorry....the link works for me???
Here's the thread anyway!
It was in Ex-Beeb.

A Buzzard's dozen.

Hi all,
I popped out earlier to peg out some washing.
I soon became aware of the familiar mewing of Buzzards and looked skywards expecting to see my usual 3/4 that we often get over the garden.
As my eyes adjusted to the blue (yes blue!!) sky I was flabbergasted to see that there were no less than 13 Buzzards all circling lazily around each other mewing eerily,a truly amazing sight!
At times they were really high up in the sky and then tumbled down around each other helter-skelter style their under wings flashing gold in the morning sunlight,wonderful!
I've never seen so many together like this before,does anyone know whether it's a common occurrence in Buzzards?
Obviously it was at least 3/4 different families??
Has anyone else ever experienced this sight?
Needless to say it took me ages to finish pegging out the washing but what a sight and sound to accompany me!!!
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Old Thursday 30th August 2007, 12:16   #10
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Thanks Ruth, I'll add it to my subscriptions list, if I'm able.
If you have read my previous you will can see an explanation of this behaviour amongst Buzzards. This goes on through Sept. & Oct. & sometimes attracts other raptors which interact.
Its a great time for raptor watching.
Which part of Cheshire are you in?
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Old Thursday 30th August 2007, 12:42   #11
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Hi H,yes I'd read it all through before I posted so thanks for the explanation!
I'm near Northwich and do most of my birding at Marbury,Neumanns and Haydns......and in the garden of course!!! lol!
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Old Thursday 30th August 2007, 12:56   #12
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Ah you're one of the Marbury-patchers! I know lots of the mad Marbury lot & meet up for drinks as often as possible. I'm not far away & bird there sometimes.
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Old Thursday 30th August 2007, 13:20   #13
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Hi,
I'm just re-reading A.W. Boyd's 'Country Diary of a Cheshire Man' and thought you might find this entry from 1st September 1939 interesting:

A buzzard was seen flying over Prestbury, in East Cheshire, by a friend of mine three days ago - rather earlier in autumn than the few which visit Cheshire usually appear. At least eighteen occurrences of the buzzard in the county were recorded between 1924 and 1936; the majority were seen or shot between October and March and one each in May and July. Of these quite a number was seen in East Cheshire in such places as Prestbury and the Pennine foothills. There is no reason whatever why these harmless and handsome hawks, if unmolested, should not nest in the wooded cloughs in the Cheshire-Derbyshire border, or in the big woods of Delamere and Peckforton.

A little different today!

Jonathan
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Old Friday 31st August 2007, 00:00   #14
JimMorris
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Cheshire Buzzards

Quote:
Originally Posted by halftwo View Post
Hello David,
You can googlemap my postcode if you like WA130QT.
That was an exceptional day but I always see the 3 common raptors here, in varying nos.
Sept. is the best month when the Buzzards flock together to reinforce territories & meet their neighbours and most of Cheshire is good for this.
They often get up very high, depending on conditions, but will also display in autumn and squabble with non-territorial young.
I suspect the Hobby young are now on the wing, (hence my 3 together) so for another month you have a greater chance of an encounter. They aren't guaranteed anywhere in any given day.
Young Kestrels are often around St.Peter's church, Oughtrington, currently (not a nest site) & hovering around Spud Wood & surrounds, occasionally interacting with Sparrowhawks.
Here's a tip though:
I have learnt to distinguish the varying reactions of Swallows & House martins to Hobby, Kestrel & Sparrowhawk, and know what is about to appear by that. Sometimes I don't see the raptor but know it has been through; especially with Hobby which they distinguish from Kestrels at extraodinary distances.
Watch out for organised panic in which they all begin to co-ordinate flight-direction & rapidly gain height; all the while making quiet alarm calls - House martins are especially vocal for Hobby. You will get up to 30 seconds warning before the Hobby arrives. It is very difficult to calculate the approach direction from the reaction (I think depending on distance from the approaching raptor) but sometimes they begin by flying away from the Hobby. At other times, if they have enough warning & the raptor is low, they actually fly towards it IF they are already higher than it. The Hobbies can be very high up sometimes - a mere speck in the sky.
If a Sparrowhawk is approaching the Swallows make it very obvious by continuous alarming & will follow the raptor even making dangerously close passes. If it is up high they alarm similarly & flock together following the raptor's progress, they will also mob a perched bird.
For Kestrels panic & alarm is very short-lived amongst the hirundines.
PM me if you fancy a meeting up one day. I do work shifts & half of weekends though.
By the way - a friend of mine who has a boat on the canal saw 5 Kingfishers within a short trip from here, presumably post-breeding season has brought them back already.
Good hunting!

H
Hello H
What a fantastic 4 hours birding from your garden. I have been near to your area a couple of times and each time I have seen Buzzards. There must be something about Cheshire that they like. Your observations are very helpful to people like myself that are not experienced birders so thank you very much. Don't be too surprised if you see a white Swift camper van in your vicinity, it will be me as I'm retired and can please myself where to go and when, lucky me. Knock on the door and have a cuppa with me. That canal looks very inviting as well. Thanks again for the info.
HAPPY BIRDING
Jim
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Old Friday 31st August 2007, 13:26   #15
halftwo
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Thanks Jim, I'll keep an eye out for that van!
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