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Friday, 14 January 2011

white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla L.) Hordle Lane, Hordle, Hampshire

Today I caught up with the juv. white-tailed eagle [WTE] which has been widely reported in the Downton / Hordle area since the 1st January 2011. Although some local birders variously indicated that it was located in the area on Boxing Day 2010 having been put up by the local shoot.

The eagle was first seen in Hampshire on 12th December 2010 heading west over Hayling Island, Portsmouth then Titchfield Haven having left the River Arun Valley in West Sussex.

Driving down in torrential rain this morning I was far from optimistic of my chances of seeing the bird. Less than an hour into the twitch it was raining stair-rods, I and everyone else headed for the comfort of our rapidly steamed up cars to sit it out.

When the weather broke at 13:00 the rain finally clearing, the local buzzard (Buteo buteo) population (5 birds) were on the wing, causing at least one erroneous "buzz-eagle" claim before the WTE was seen launching out of a tree to the north west of the staked out field - the bird must have been roosting unseen in the very poor light and without doubt on the "wrong" side of the tree.

The WTE was watched for nearly three minutes as it flew south along the tree line before turning west and disappearing below the sky-line. Thrilling.

It was next seen at 16:35 further along Hordle Lane and where it was watched for around 20 mins roosting before it flew east. The report on Going Birding Hampshire drolly commenting: "sadly some way from [the] assembled birders." Unfortunately I was one of the "assembled birders".

On returning home still exhilarated by the brief WTE action; I was both delighted and a little bemused to hear that 7 waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus) had been recorded this afternoon at Palmerston Road in Southsea on my "work patch". I have been eagerly anticipating their arrival in Palmerston Road since before Christmas and checking the site on a regular and almost daily basis.

Going Birding Hampshire can be found at: http://www.goingbirding.co.uk/hants/birdnews.asp

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