Montagu's Harrier at Eakring Flash May 2005
  A welcome (and not unexpected) addition to the Eakring bird list was a fly-over Montagu's Harrier on May 3rd 2005. It ended what had been an excellent Spring for rare raptors, with double records of both Red Kite and Osprey.

Its occurrence here, coincided with a good influx of Black Kites and smaller numbers of Montagu's Harriers were to be reported at a number of sites over the next few days. It transcribed that two other Montagu's Harriers were seen the same day, including a bird in East Yorkshire, which were unknown at the time of sighting.

Sighting and circumstances

The afternoon was particularly fine and pleasantly warm, with plenty of Cumulus cloud making the detection of any high raptors much easier.

The bird came into Eakring Flash from the north at 15:55h . Unfortunately it remained unseen until directly overhead, as I was sat on the bridge at the northern-end of Eakring Flash looking for Large Red Damselflies. All the time it was gaining height, circling and slowly drifting off south. When at a considerable height it then veered off to the south-west and was lost from view.

The bird was probably a male, but sexing was difficult due to the height of the bird and the angle of sunlight. The only plumage details noted, were the dark tips to the primaries. Most of the identification was based upon shape - the bird appearing longer and more narrow-winged than Hen Harrier, with a relatively bouyant flight action. The wings were held in the typical shallow 'V' fashion of circling Harriers.

This sighting represents one of the rarest species to be seen here. Montagu's Harriers are very rare in Nottinghamshire, with the last record coming several years ago from the Idle Valley in the north of the county.

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