4th November 2014
The last Rough-legged Buzzard to be recorded in Hertfordshire was during the 2008/09 winter at Reed in the north-east of the county. However, another bird has now taken up residence in fields along Hay lane to the west of Hay Street north of Braughing.
Herts Bird Club reports "It all started on the morning of Sunday 2nd November with Paula Moore's
sighting of a possible ring-tail Harrier in the Braughing area. Mike Ilett went
to investigate and discovered the bird was actually a juvenile Rough-legged
wrote: "At around 11.30 I saw there had been a claim of a Hen Harrier near
Braughing so decided to go and look for it (and in the back of my mind make
sure it wasn’t something rarer ie Pallid) arriving around midday. I drove through
Braughing to Hay Street but this didn’t give good views of the fields so
decided to head up the minor road from Hay Street towards the A10. This gave
good views over a large area. Within ten minutes I had a buzzard species fly
along the western edge of the field and perch briefly before being mobbed by
Red Kites – it then flew off north and lost to view. I was sure that it
looked good for a Rough-legged Buzzard, but being fully aware of the variation in buzzard colouration was a
bit cautious. The bird then re-appeared over the original field and gave
prolonged views allowing a range of photos to be taken. By the time I left at
about 3pm around 15 people had arrived and seen the bird.""
As it had stayed for a couple of days Andy and I decided to go and have a look with the hope of getting some photos. We grabbed the last parking space in the small lay-by at the top of the hill and learned that the bird had been seen about 10 minutes earlier and had gone into a small Silver Birch plantation. About half an hour went by before it re-appeared and went on a fly-about which included some dog-fights with a Carrion Crow and some hovering in the calm bright conditions.
This bird is a dream compared to the Reed bird which I found to be always distant, fleeting and elusive.
What a performer!!