Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Invisible barn door

You may not have been following the wanderings of England's White-tailed Eagle, but it first appeared in West Sussex in mid-December, spending most of its winter in Hampshire. It left the south of the county on 9th February before turning up further north two weeks later.

More recently it left Hampshire on 24th March and disappeared. So when we got a report of a bird in Lincolnshire and then in Norfolk two hours later (pretty good going!) then we did wonder if it might be the same bird. It didn't find anywhere in Norfolk quite to its liking though and wandered all along the coast before popping over to Suffolk for a bit and then back to Norfolk.

Norfolk being Norfolk, it was obviously going to be photographed, and once some images were submitted we could compare it with those of the Hampshire bird. On both birds, a middle primary on the left wing has a distinct cut tip to the feather and on the right wing there's an unusual gap in the secondaries. This seems pretty conclusive and it is indeed the Hampshire bird. Check these two similar photos.

We wonder if it might have headed along the Thames valley and then the Derwent/Trent valley to find itself in Lincolnshire, but how does a massive flying barn door manage to make this journey (shown on our BirdMap below) mostly unseen?!

***STOP PRESS*** A day is a long time in the life of a White-tailed Eagle and no sooner had I blogged this than the bird had turned back west, headed back out into the Wash and dropped in to Gibraltar Point in the afternoon!

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