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Large bird of prey

Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750
edited September 2019 in Wildlife gardening

I was just taking a break after planting a load of shrubs when across the middle of my garden flew the biggest bird other than a seagull I've ever seed close up. It was so surreal. It took me a second to comprehend that I was NOT watching it on TV! Oh my gariboldis I've just seen an eagle! I thought. It really did look like an eagle, big, but not meters across, chocolate brown with a white patch on the base of it's tale. I was so stunned I didn't even jump out of my chair to see it fly away behind the trees. I think this is probably what I saw, but the head was very much like an eagle and the colouring seemed much more sold brown and white more prominent. But I was in shock!



  • Hi Jim, I would suggest you make a detailed report to either the BTO or the RSPB. Giving time, weather and location. They will be able to tell you what you saw and if it is a Hen Harrier they can record it. Hope that helps

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,848

    That white bar says hen harrier to me.

  • Could be a Buzzard?  Was it flying high across open land?

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750
    B Karen wrote (see)

    Could be a Buzzard?  Was it flying high across open land?

    No, no more than 10' over my garden, looking for food no doubt. It just moved so slowly and effortlessly, not a flap, not a ruffle of a feather, just looked about as it swooped past, then behind a tree and away. I was completely mesmerised.  I've looked through page after page of photos and the closes thing to what it looked like is this.


     I know that sounds ludicrous that a Golden Eagle flew over my garden in Durham but nothing else really fits the bill plumage-wise and my first thought was it was like watching a western on TV. the colour of this is spot on. The size makes me doubt it was actually and Eagle though, but it was side on to me and it had its wings swept back, not in a dive but something between a dive and glide. 

    Thanks for your suggestions everyone. Just looked at the site I got the first photo from again. I think the female Hen Harrier is the most likely suggestion. 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,124

    Jim - so exciting - it really does sound as if you saw a Hen Harrier - we occasionally see them in Suffolk - wonderful birds.  Yours may possibly have been moving northwards towards their breeding grounds on the grouse moors - a little early in the year for this to be happening, but it's an odd year!

    Please report your sighting to the RSPB - Hen Harriers are such an endangered bird it's important that they keep track of as many as possible image 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 750

    Thanks for that Dove, I tried regiestering the sighting yesterday but couldn't find the link. I was so excited I phoned my partner at work and rabbited on for five minutes about it then got an nervous laugh, 'Jim, I've got the auditors with me.' image They were very understanding. image

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,946

    Jim image

    You'd have been in no doubt if it had been an eagle. They are HUGE! I love all birds of prey. Buzzards are really common here but it still thrills me when I see them.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • The white-tailed eagle is the largest UK bird of prey. It has brown body plumage with a conspicuously pale head and neck which can be almost white in older birds, and the tail feathers of adults are white. In flight it has massive long, broad wings with 'fingered' ends. Its head protrudes and it has a short, wedge-shaped tail. It went extinct in the UK during the early 20th century, due to illegal killing, and the present population has been reintroduced.

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