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Soaring Sparrowhawks in January? (UK)

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Old Monday 7th January 2019, 19:52   #1
birderUK007
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Soaring Sparrowhawks in January? (UK)

Hi there

Was out birding today and over a large lake in inland Gloucestershire I saw a bird of prey soaring above it, not ridiculously high but certainly above the tree line. My first impression was Peregrine, it didn't circle as if on thermals, it glided across the sky and changed direction with barely a wing beat. There was no flap-flap-glide of the Sparrowhawk and the general shape was not Kestrel. The tail was fanned a lot.

I've never seen a Peregrine at this location before but have seen Sparrowhawks.

I know Sparrowhawks can soar in early Spring for mating reasons, but would they do so in January? Is this ever a method they use for hunting?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old Monday 7th January 2019, 20:09   #2
KenM
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Regarding soaring Sprawks in Jan, they can soar at anytime,
on the 19th Dec.(last), I had male and female displaying for c10-15 minutes, fine still days are probably best for soaring purposes regarding Accipters.

FWIW...You mentioned Peregrine (for size?), you also suggested no real discernible flapping during the soaring, I have observed Goshawk gliding with the occasional tail twitch over a long distance without any wing movement, might be worth another visit.

Cheers

Last edited by KenM : Monday 7th January 2019 at 20:15.
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Old Tuesday 8th January 2019, 08:22   #3
birderUK007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenM View Post
Regarding soaring Sprawks in Jan, they can soar at anytime,
on the 19th Dec.(last), I had male and female displaying for c10-15 minutes, fine still days are probably best for soaring purposes regarding Accipters.

FWIW...You mentioned Peregrine (for size?), you also suggested no real discernible flapping during the soaring, I have observed Goshawk gliding with the occasional tail twitch over a long distance without any wing movement, might be worth another visit.

Cheers
Great thanks Ken, that's very interesting and indeed might be worth another visit. I was not aware SP soared outside of breeding season!
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