Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day Five - 5th May 2010

Another day, another prayer for suitable conditions....... but again, the weather gods chose to taunt us somewhat, with occasional windows of blue sky soon enveloped by dark grey cloud, and a moderate wind from very much the wrong direction (NNE); as such, expectations amongst our (typically small) troupe weren't especially high.

However, there were several silver linings to the dense Dickensian clouds. A Hobby flew west to the south of the tower late morning, bringing our raptor species tally to six for the project thus far, and another indication of movement through the very heart of the city. Common Swifts were pleasingly numerous throughout the session, with a minimum of 60 counted, mostly heading north - again, a fine sight against the backdrop of urban sprawl and almost blanket concrete.

Somewhat against the odds and late in the day, we managed to pull another large raptor out of the bag. Picked up over the Thames to the south-east, gunning north and almost clipping the summit of Thatcher's phallic monument to rampant greed (that's Canary Wharf to you dear readers), a Common Buzzard made haste over the inner city before relaxing a little and soaring over Hackney for several minutes. Trying desperately to be something a little more interesting - very darkly-plumaged and flying on deeply V-shaped wings - it eventually submitted to being a welcome but common buteo.

So, a well-earned score draw by all accounts. Our results so far have been pleasingly successful; aside from a perfect storm of ideal conditions, visibility and timing, our records thus far have been arguably above expectations. Context is all important - this isn't Eilat or Hawk Mountain, after all - but it is a pioneering study with no precedents.

Mark Pearson

(photos - Common Buzzard, Tower 42, 5th May 2010 c Mark Pearson)

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