Raptor ramblings

As I was driving back from a trip to Cambridge today I was musing about the number of birds of prey that I see. Birding as a teenager in Oxfordshire it was quite rare to see a buzzard: When I saw one at my local reservoir in Banbury I think several local birdwatchers thought I had imagined it! There were no red kites in the Midlands then – they were only found in a small area of mid-Wales prior to re-introduction in the Chilterns, something I talked about earlier in the year. There were, however, plenty of kestrels.

My experience is certainly that kestrels have been in quite a steep decline but are now, thankfully, picking up in numbers. I definitely see more of them than I did 10 years ago, but not as many as I saw in the 1980s. Marsh harriers are a huge success story, as red kites have been, and – certainly around here in north Norfolk – I see them all the time.


I think it’s generally accepted that with reduced pesticide use and more ecologically sensitive farming methods in many areas birds of prey are doing well. Sadly there’s still some illegal shooting of birds like hen harriers, but hopefully this can be stopped.

Maybe it’s a good time to be a bird of prey – and they are an indicator of a good, diverse eco-system.

No new species for November 25th:

Birds = 228
Moths = 256
Wildflowers = 290