18th April 2017
It's that time of year when Marsh Harriers' thoughts turn to pairing up and nesting with all the displaying and nest building that goes with it, so off to see what was going on. Still only the middle of April with a cold northerly breeze, but with some sunny spells to help the photography along. While we were waiting for the action to begin a Common Snipe was doing its best to hide in the reeds directly below us. Mostly obscured by a few reeds, but as the wind blew it was exposed for just a split second every now and again allowing a couple of shots to be taken.
Eventually up to four Marsh Harriers put in an appearance, and although there was some interaction now and then, there was no sign of any nest building so perhaps still a little too early. What was noticeable, however, was that it was only the females that came close, with the males mainly keeping their distance either high in the sky or on the far side of the reed bed.
The only time a male came within range was when this pair were displaying and the male obviously forgot the rules. It can be clearly seen that the female was wing-tagged in the nest as a youngster. I submitted the details of the tag to the Hawk and Owl Trust who have informed me that she was wing-tagged near Great Yarmouth on the 15th June 2016 and has also been recorded at Minsmere on the 15th October 2016 and Saltholme on the 9th April 2017.
Will see how they are getting on in a months time.