Bird Of Prey

The LROS Survey this year is looking at the birds of prey in VC55, five years on from the last survey, so while I’ve been out and about at work I’ve been plotting all the raptors I see. Normally this means putting Buzzard, Kestrel or whatever and a grid reference with little chance to note sex, age or much else.

Yesterday though as I entered Norton Juxta Twycross I noticed a pale Buzzard in a roadside tree. Luckily as I left it was still there. Knowing how nervous Buzzards are I parked further up the road and got my digiscoping kit out. As to be expected almost as soon as I dropped the first leg it was off, thankfully though flying to another nearby tree. I managed a few shots before a crop scarer flushed it again.

Common Buzzard

As you can see it’s a very pale bird and I would bet some might call it as a Rough-legged if they saw it in flight. From the photos though it’s easy enough to age (using Forsman) as a juvenile 1cy-2cy on account of the pale brown iris contrasting with a dark pupil.

To go with it a bit of Fatboy Slim.

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7 responses to “Bird Of Prey

  1. Some people no doubt would call it a Rough-legged, but they’d also probably call their arse an elbow!

    Slipping smoothly into pedant mode, it’s actually the iris that’s the pale brown bit of the eye, contrasting with the dark pupil. And if you’re using calendar year terminology for ageing, it has to be a 2cy as it would have hatched last year.

  2. thedrunkbirder

    Sorry Andy… I’d read Forsman last night on the Iris/Pupil bit and must have not been focussed this morning. I’ll edit the post,
    Forsman does call that age – juvenile 1Cy-2Cy – as it probably hasn’t celebrated its first birthday yet.

    On another note… wasn’t there a Rough-legged claimed out that way a year or two back? It’s the palest I’ve seen over that way though by a long way.

  3. But isn’t the whole point of using calendar year terminology that it refers to an actual calendar year (i.e. January 1st – December 31st) rather than any old 12 month period? So it doesn’t matter that that bird isn’t quite one year old, it’s in its second calendar year of life (hatched in 2011) so it’s a 2cy. That’s how I’ve always understood it anyway. I may be completely wrong of course!

    I think what Forsman means is that Buzzards can have a pale iris throughout the period from juv to 2cy. So in other words they start to get a dark iris in their second winter (i.e. next winter for this bird) after which they are indistinguishable from adults.

    Can’t remember a Rough-legged being claimed in that area specifically, but there have been several bullshit claims in the county over the years.

  4. thedrunkbirder

    Have a word with Dick Forsman… he started it!

  5. The whole usage of cy to reflect a birds age does my head in, though my understanding is exactly as Andy’s. For me a first-winter Black-headed Gull in January is much more immediately understandable than a 2cy – after all in December that bird looks very different but is still 2cy …….

  6. Hi John,
    Only just read this post. Thought it might be of interest that I’ve regularly seen a very pale Common Buzzard, exactly like this one, between Clifton Campville and Harlaston, just over into Staffordshire. No great distance for it to have drifted, or of course it could be another, quite possibly related, bird.
    I vaguely remember a claim of a Rough-legged somewhere around Twycross 3 or 4 years back.

  7. thedrunkbirder

    I’m out that way quite a bit Matt… not seen one out there but I guess there’s probably a few about nowadays.

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