Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Buteo

After a rather shaky start - and a rather foggy one - we had a lovely walk through Shipley Park this morning and when the sun came through, it was bright and warm.  We went looking for more fungi (what an exciting life we lead), but there was far more drama to be seen when we returned home.  My attention was drawn to a pair of Buzzards (Buteo buteo) tumbling and soaring through the air above our house.  Then there were three, then four and at last, five of these magnificent birds of prey chasing each other around the heavens.
Sadly, they remained stubbornly high in the sky, so the pictures are somewhat distant.  Buzzards are now our most common bird of prey with a wing span of up to 5ft.  There are about 31,100 breeding pairs in Britain.
Their plumage is very variable, but mostly shades of brown and gold with much paler feather patterns on the wings and 'necklace'.  Their plaintive, mewing cry can be mistaken for a cat and these five birds were doing quite a lot of it.  I wondered what was happening with them.  Perhaps it was a pair of parents chasing off their young - they can be rather territorial.
What magnificent birds they are and stunning to watch as they 'roller-coaster' about in the sky.
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