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Male Hen Harrier??? - Kent UK (1 Viewer)

Bluben79

Member
United Kingdom
Whilst watching some Snipe, Meadow Pipits and Lapwing in a Marshside field today the birds were disturbed. I looked up and in a flash saw a Bird of Prey chasing them down.. I'm fairly new to this so not sure as to what it might have been. The colour was like a milky grey/blue on the top of the wings and body. I didn't see the belly and I didn't notice any wingtip colours. They may have been present but I was fairly caught in the fleeting moment. I was standing approximately forty yards away and the bird was hunting maybe 10' - 15' from the ground. There was an audible whoosh as it passed as it quickly changed direction in the air. Unfortunately it flew over a bank and I didn't see it for more than a few seconds. I immediately though Peregrine because of the speed but I haven't seen one of these before or a Hen Harrier. There have been local sightings of a male Hen Harrier and looking at pictures when I got back home the colours seem to match what I saw more accurately than other possible birds. I've watched videos online of Hen Harriers but they don't seem to be moving like what I saw. Do Hen Harriers take prey as they fly or is more likely to be another bird?

Whatever it was to be that close was amazing albeit being over in a couple of seconds.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Sounds like a Peregrine to me. The black wingtips of a male harrier are quite obvious and the flight description doesn’t sound right - better suits a falcon or possibly a male Sparrowhawk - given the target prey could have been Lapwing or Meadow Pipits, it’s hard to know which for sure though.
 

Bluben79

Member
United Kingdom
Thanks for the reply. I've spent a bit of time researching online with pictures and videos and though not entirely sure think I saw either a Peregrine or a Sparrowhawk mostly from flight observations and descriptions. I'm going back there tomorrow so maybe I'll be better able to ID if I'm lucky enough to see it again.
 

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