Saturday, 10 October 2020

October Holiday Part 2 Lammergeier

 The vulture is still around. Having departed Derbyshire it was eventually located in Norfolk, disappeared again and then a few days ago was seen in south Lincolnshire around Spalding and venturing into Cambridgeshire at times. It has been mobile at times pitching up in odd locations and at one point roosted in a tree on an industrial site. Yesterday it spent much of the afternoon north of Thorney, roosting in a roadside tree and on one occasion disrupted traffic by feeding on the road!

Early start again today, and we arrived at 0715 to find a row of cars parked and a small crowd beyond. Luckily the verges were wide enough for the cars as there had been problems yesterday with bad parking. I was expecting to see the vulture perched a little way off, I wasn't expecting it to be one of three trees right by the road at the exit of a local farm and birders standing underneath looking up!. We stayed a bit further back and had stunning views as it was lit by the rising sun. The digiscoping kit worked quite well with the Z7 camera.

I was fiddling with the camera and missed it flying off over the field but managed to grab a couple of poor flight shots. We were horrified to see it drop onto the road in front of an approaching car. Luckily it was a birder who managed to stop and prevent other cars passing until it had flown into the field. Apparently it had picked up a flat rat.

The views in the field were pretty good though a bit distant and after a brief flight settled down to feed on a bit of rabbit rather closer to us. With a cold wind picking up and cloud building up I was resigned to spending a lot of time watching it in the scope on the deck. Colin threatened to go back to the car for a coffee but held off for a bit which was fortunate as it took off and we got amazing flight views. By now it had gron a full tail but the wings were starting to get a bit tatty.

My one regret about our trip to the Peak District to see it was not seeing it in flight (and barely seeing it at all over half a mile away on the cliff) and once it had moved south I wasn't' really expecting to see it again, and certainly not as well as we did today. Despite it's status as an introduced species (but wild bred and after several generations) its got to be my bird of the year.

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