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11 Feb 2018

Raptor wars

This morning the Tack Piece was the setting for an epic battle between a pair of Peregrine and 2 pairs of Buzzard.  One of the Peregrine caught a Tufted Duck, which it bought down alive in front of the Martin Smith Hide.  The duck struggled but was then quickly dispatched before being plucked.  A Buzzard then robbed the Peregrine of its meal, but not before the Peregrine fought back and fought back hard!

Both Peregrine began to mob the first pair of Buzzard, calling loudly and making rapid stoops, blasting around the field sending the remaining duck and waders into a frenzy of panic.  Eventually one of the Buzzard pair left being chased towards the oak trees to the north of the field, whilst the second Buzzard remained sat on the field gate in front of the Martin Smith Hide.  With a few more unsuccessful stoops, one of the Peregrines approached low, just a few feet off the ground before rising up and attempting to knock the Buzzard off the gate.  Fortunately for the Buzzard, it noticed just in time and ducked.  The Peregrines gave up soon after, but then a second pair of Buzzard arrived to steal the kill.  A short display from the original pair and all then settled with one Buzzard sat on the perimeter fence looking at the kill, and the other three birds departing.

Throughout the whole battle, a few Carrion Crow managed to feed whilst the raptors were occupied.

Robbie Garnett Hide

With all the raptor activity the Tack Piece was very jumpy.  Counts included 170 Golden Plover, 73 Dunlin, 27 Ruff, 32 Redshank, 127 Curlew and around 2000 Wigeon.  On the scrape were 43 Pochard and 40 Shoveler all feeding close to the hide.  The flock of 125 White-fronted Geese dropped in mid-morning before being spooked by the wind and then departed over the hedge.
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South Lake Hides

The Lapwing flock were very nervous this morning and spent a lot of time in the air leaving just 123 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Redshank and 11 Avocet on the scrape.  The deep lake was also quiet with just a few Tufted Duck present.  A pair of Oystercatcher were on the shoreline near the hide.
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Zeiss Hide

Peregrine strikes stirred up the birds here too leaving little on the scrape.  A good number of Dunlin were noted but too quick to count.  A Water Rail was in reedbed whilst duck numbers on the field included around 500 Wigeon and 60 Teal.  Two Pochard were on the water in front of the Van de Bovenkamp Hide.
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Holden Tower

Seven Cranes were on the Dumbles (Cotton, Oakie, Evie, Bart, Ruby, Monty and Sedge).  The Red-breasted Goose was with the Barnacle flock.  A Little Stint was along the shoreline of the scrape, with at least 3 birds seen earlier in the morning.  A large flock of around 1000 Lapwing dropped in briefly before heading back to the Tack Piece.