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Accipiter ID (Ashford, Kent, UK) 09/09/2020

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Old Wednesday 9th September 2020, 16:32   #1
ryan11111
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Accipiter ID (Ashford, Kent, UK) 09/09/2020

Hi all,

I saw this Accipiter sp. (see attached photos and video) today and assume it is a sparrowhawk.

However, it looked pretty huge for a sparrowhawk (though hard to judge size from so far away as it was flying really high).

Thanks in advance,

Ryan
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Old Wednesday 9th September 2020, 22:47   #2
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FWIW looking at image (3). I would suggest Goshawk, albeit I’ve never seen them that high (mostly very low over and through canopy or almost at ground level). The body and head to my eye look almost disproportionately bigger than wings and tail.

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Old Thursday 10th September 2020, 07:13   #3
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I see what you mean, Ken, but the first 2 images with the clear cut tail tip are better for Sparrowhawk imho
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Old Thursday 10th September 2020, 07:34   #4
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This is one of the more ‘difficult’ images I’ve seen of S v Gos. However, despite the apparently long necked appearance in all the images, which I think is due partly to the angle of view as well as posture, my first impression was of Sparrowhawk before too much over thinking. The size of the head in proportion to body (again angle of view influencing) says to me a small body and short wings rather than large head. It’s just a feeling but the wing load looks light and the arm looks quite short, the shoulders ‘weak’. The tail is particularly square ended in some of the images and parallel sided even though the fluffed up tail coverts (seen also by Sparrowhawk) may be giving a ‘shorter’ tail and larger body impression. The three images are of similar view from below with extended neck looking down whilst in forward glide creating imo a potentially misleading Goshawk impression. Difficult image but my gut says ‘Sparrowhawk’.
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Old Thursday 10th September 2020, 07:49   #5
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Agreed each to their own interpretation of the images, it’s just that the last image is almost screaming Peregrine to my eye and I’ve never seen a Sprawk looking like that, however Gos can give a similar structural feel to Peregrine often.

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Old Thursday 10th September 2020, 08:30   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenM View Post
...it’s just that the last image is almost screaming Peregrine to my eye ... however Gos can give a similar structural feel to Peregrine often.

Cheers
I’ve never seen a Peregrine looking like the last image. Yes, there is a well known and often stated similarity (pointed out by fieldguides) that can sometimes be seen between Goshawk and Peregrine. However, in all the many regular times of seeing Goshawks over the years, I have only ever seen this similar ‘structural feel’ when a Goshawk is in a stoop or steep downward glide with the primary tips well swept back, with carpel joints well forward, giving the wings a falcon-like pointed wing appearance. I don’t see this in the last image - the wing tips look broad and the hands not swept back to that ‘Pere’ gizz.

You could be right it could be a Goshawk as I said, these are ‘difficult’ images. The tail could look square if the central retrices are moulted and with the tail closed, any moult gaps would be hard to see - but I think that would make the tail taper even more than I would normally expect for Gos. Having said that, there’s nothing to suggest active moult from these images.

I’m fortunate enough to have several nesting pairs near me which I see regularly and I’ve often seen them flying high up in open sky too. I instantly without hesitation know when I see them cf to Sparrowhawk- I’m just not getting that here.
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Last edited by Deb Burhinus : Thursday 10th September 2020 at 08:43. Reason: typo
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Old Thursday 10th September 2020, 09:34   #7
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Thanks for the replies!

I am very used to seeing sparrowhawks, however it was the size of this bird that really struck me (at first glance I thought it had to be a buzzard until I got my binoculars out).

But again, being so far away from it, it can be difficult to judge the size.

I don't know if this video I have attached would help at all?
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Old Thursday 10th September 2020, 10:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb Burhinus View Post
I’ve never seen a Peregrine looking like the last image. Yes, there is a well known and often stated similarity (pointed out by fieldguides) that can sometimes be seen between Goshawk and Peregrine. However, in all the many regular times of seeing Goshawks over the years, I have only ever seen this similar ‘structural feel’ when a Goshawk is in a stoop or steep downward glide with the primary tips well swept back, with carpel joints well forward, giving the wings a falcon-like pointed wing appearance. I don’t see this in the last image - the wing tips look broad and the hands not swept back to that ‘Pere’ gizz.

You could be right it could be a Goshawk as I said, these are ‘difficult’ images. The tail could look square if the central retrices are moulted and with the tail closed, any moult gaps would be hard to see - but I think that would make the tail taper even more than I would normally expect for Gos. Having said that, there’s nothing to suggest active moult from these images.

I’m fortunate enough to have several nesting pairs near me which I see regularly and I’ve often seen them flying high up in open sky too. I instantly without hesitation know when I see them cf to Sparrowhawk- I’m just not getting that here.
Deb am in accord with everything that has been said by yourself and Tom, however if I can put to bed one myth regarding ''tail posture'' of Gos v Sprawk?

Here are a couple of frames (of many) taken a couple of years ago on the day of an immature Gos just moments apart...sharp corners v rounded.

Cheers
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Old Thursday 10th September 2020, 11:16   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenM View Post
Here are a couple of frames (of many) taken a couple of years ago on the day of an immature Gos just moments apart...sharp corners v rounded.

Cheers
pic 1 is really interesting (and it’s frightening to see how deceptive a single pic can be)

PS can’t watch the video on my iphone
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Old Thursday 10th September 2020, 12:16   #10
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I can’t access video either.

Ken - nice shot of the Gos - can I suggest from that angle, (ie first image) the distal curve would not be so obvious and tail shape changes with posture but I absolutely agree tail shape should never be a defining separation criteria either in the field or from photos for that very reason hence my other additional points above.

these images show how the shape of Sparrowhawk (ie head/neck/tail length) can create deceptive ‘lines’ in still imagery

Head/throat from full crop

http://orientalbirdimages.org/search...ird_Family_ID=

short tail from below

http://orientalbirdimages.org/search...ird_Family_ID=

‘thick neck/large head’ from below

http://orientalbirdimages.org/search...ird_Family_ID=


I think I quoted this on another thread not so long ago but as DF said once “ one photo can lie more than 1000 words” so I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers here at the moment and it could well be a Gos.

Ryan - as you rightfully said ‘size’ of lone birds in the sky is impossible to judge accurately- the video may prove helpful. Perhaps upload it to youtube and post a link.

I would add, having been born in Kent and know it well, Goshawk is a County description species and not easy to see so this would be a very good record for Gos.
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Last edited by Deb Burhinus : Thursday 10th September 2020 at 14:59. Reason: typo
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Old Thursday 10th September 2020, 15:32   #11
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looks like a sparrowhawk to me (i also watched the video).
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Old Friday 11th September 2020, 23:16   #12
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l(i also watched the video).
That’s good enough for me!

(I couldn’t get it to work on my mobile but intriguing set images for sure)
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Old Saturday 12th September 2020, 08:04   #13
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Morning

Should we also take into account that verified Goshawk sightings in Kent are very rare.

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Old Saturday 12th September 2020, 08:36   #14
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Morning

Should we also take into account that verified Goshawk sightings in Kent are very rare.

Regards
Maybe, but rare birds do occur ...


wrt being 'huge' and size being deceptive I've one time (and only once) seen a Sparrowhawk that I would describe as 'huge'.
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