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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind - Part 1

I thought I would just share with you some of my encounters with birds over the years this part is focused on Birds of Prey.

  • Prairie Falcon: Canada driving along on the prairie during a Med Man exercise I looked out of my window to see a prairie falcon come up alongside my truck and at eye level. This magnificent bird stayed with me in that position for at least a good mile, what a thrill that was.
  • Sparrowhawk: I was walking down a track during one of my bushcraft courses, when at eye level this female Sparrowhawk was flying straight at me. She was about 10-20 feet away when she realised I was in her way, she then banked up and round to her left and weaved her way through the tangle of branches with expert precession.
  • Burrowing Owl: Once again in Canada during another Med Man exercise I spotted six individuals of this rare bird and as a result of reporting this sighting the whole Battle Group was moved to the other side of the range.
  • Hobby: While waiting for a flock of swallows to land in the maize field so that we could trap and ring them they suddenly took flight, we desperately looked around to see what had caused them to take fright. Then from between my legs this Hobby appeared and caught one of the swallows, he had used us as a screen from the swallows.
  • Long-legged Buzzard: Yemen in a wadi on our way back from a great days birding, when we were gifted with the most magnificent display ever. This summer plumaged Long-legged Buzzard was grabbing branches, flipping over and swooping just some seventy five metres in front of us, this breathing taking display lasted at least a good fifteen minutes.
  • White-bellied Fish Eagle: Hong Kong I was out visiting one of the small Islands as I was walking the shore line, I was treated to this Fish Eagle catching a fish from the water’s surface just a stone’s throw away.
  • Sparrowhawk: While sat in my car making a phone call. A Sparrowhawk appeared from my right from a driveway flying just inches over the bonnet of my car it then dropped to just a few feet above the road, oblivious to the fact it could of at that point been hit by an oncoming car it raced off down another drive way and after about fifty meters it swopped up and over a wall with an inch or to spare. I wonder if it caught what it was after.
  • Golden Eagle: As I stood there stretching having just climbed out of my vehicle just over the raise came this Golden Eagle passing over my head, I could almost reach out and touch it.
  • Ferruginous Hawk: I was taking a walk on a very bright and hot day on the prairie in Canada, when I felt this rush of air by my head forcing me to duck, I looked up but could not see what it was the sun was blinding me, several more times this happened something was trying to attack me. As I withdrew I got to see what it was, it was a beautiful Ferruginous Hawk protecting its nest and of course I had wandered to close to it.
  • Marsh Harrier: While watching a Western Marsh Harrier quartering a reed bed just outside our camp in Canada I suddenly became aware that I was being surrounded by Coyotes.
  • Short-eared Owl: I use to like staying on Kidney Island in the Falklands, during my first visit I was given the pleasure of experiencing two Short-eared Owls close up. They circled just above around me several times outside the hut I was staying in.
  • Little Owl: We were out trapping an ringing Little Owls in Germany when on one occasion my friend who had his arm down a hole of a tree looking to see if there was a Little owl in it. He suddenly gave a startled sound we turned to see a stoat running up his arm and over shoulder and if that was not enough some time later in the same position of a different tree he encountered Hornets. That’s when we took to our toes.
More to come check back later...

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