Friday, 22 October 2010

Surprise Hobby

Spotted this bird, sadly a road-kill, on the A1 at Whitecraig, by Inveresk, late last week (14/10); had been puzzled about species, roughly Kestrel sized but brown like a Buzzard and many bars seemingly ruling out all usual possibilities; so collected in early hours of Friday and despite having been squashed flat it was obviously a Hobby, quite a surprise.

As per pics above age and sex seems quite straightforward: dark brown upperparts, uniform flight feathers fringed buff, undertail coverts and thighs both well-marked all point to juv; big tear drop brown marks on thighs, and short bars on undertail (not extending to feather shaft as on juv male) confirm female. Sad end to a beautiful bird.

Nearby, remains of a Tawny Owl recovered from the Esk bridge, freshly dead on Wednesday morning, apparently juv too but need to dry out feathers. Also recently, feathers above of a dead owl recovered from Vaults Wood at White Sands, early October (per Kris Gibb, Ian Andrews) turn out to be from a Short-eared Owl, very probably an adult female; my guess is an expired migrant, just possibly a bird which expired in last winter's cold weather.

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