Honey Buzzard (Martin Loftgren)
Ahh bless photo
Not much room on cliffs
Honey Buzzard is a species that I've never seen or got close to seeing as there is so little information available. I'd tried twice for them at Acres Down in New Forest when in the area without even a sniff so I spread my wings looking for any help. Spurn birder, Steve Routledge came to my assistance and offered me some good tips, plenty of excellent reading and the offer of a meet up. So Friday morning I left home at 4.30am to go to Wykeham Forest on North Yorkshire Moors. As I arrived Steve was already set to go so we headed up to the raptor point and was joined by Tim Cowley.
The view of the canopy was excellent, the lads were very hopeful of a couple of sightings. A Garden Warbler & five Crossbills kept us entertained whilst we waited and waited. Plenty of Common Buzzards & Swifts but no Honeys ! At 9.45am we got our first sighting which was perhaps our worst but as the morning progressed the views improved. We may have seen two birds however the one we recorded in the same area a number of times and only strayed west once. Whilst you could see them with binoculars you needed you a scope at all times to confirm the ID's. Wing clapping was only witnessed once which was a shame & you can always wish for a perfect flyover . These secretive raptors arrive in the third week in May before leaving mid to late august with juveniles following in September.
As the morning progressed there was plenty of good banter between sightings and other sightings included a Raven, two Red Kites and 2/3 Goshawks. Many thanks to Steve & Tim for their help. I left the forest around 1.30pm as sighting had gone quiet & headed to RSPB Bempton Cliffs. Whilst I've been there twice before you can't miss the chance to see sea birds so close. There were more Puffins than I'd seen previously whilst there were the usual high number of Razorbill, Guillemot, Kittiwakes & Gannets. Bempton must be the best place to now see Tree Sparrows, they were everywhere. As I left the reserve I found two Corn Buntings by the farm.
Thankfully I'd booked to stay over and the next morning I found one of the famous Scarborough Peregrines when I passed the cliffs when out running. I returned after breakfast to get some breathtaking views of the bird hunting the cliffs.