Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Office politics

If you've already read the entry below about last week's excellent session at the top of the tower, you'll know we were lucky enough to watch the second of two Honey-buzzards drop dramatically into central London while being pursued by crows. We lost the bird amongst buildings in the Waterloo area, just south-west of our watchpoint - assuming it'd made landfall in the only nearby trees, in the grounds of either Lambeth Palace or the Imperial War Museum.

As it turns out, we were a few hundred metres out... thanks to Nick Cooper, who was at work in his office at the time, we now know the bird's adventures in the big city were even more dramatic than we thought. Hearing a loud thud against his third-floor office window, Nick and his colleagues found the Honey-buzzard, stunned but otherwise unhurt, sat on the pebbled ledge beneath the window... Nick had the good sense to take these incredible photos while a colleague called the RSPCA.

Thankfully they weren't required, as the bird composed itself, took flight and headed south-east, hopefully none the worse for it's 'welcome to London' tourist experience - getting mugged in broad daylight and then crashing while trying to escape is bad luck by any standards.

To put the story in context, Honey-buzzards are rare passage migrants in the Greater London area and always an exciting quarry for the network of birders looking up across the capital. Occasionally there are larger influxes during peak migration periods when weather conditions conspire to push birds into southern and eastern England, but these influxes are few and far between, and just a handful of records is normal for most years.

An amazing final chapter to a memorable day in our spring studies.

Special thanks to Nick for kindly allowing us to reproduce his pictures here. His blog entry of the event can be read here.

Mark Pearson

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