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Lazy Circles in the Sky

Wednesday, 28th August 2002, West Yorkshire

buzzard As we're sitting at the patio table with our morning coffee there's a bird circling at 500 feet or so over the field across the valley. I rush in for the binoculars and we soon decide that it isn't a gull, that it must be a buzzard.

buzzard But as it turns and dives gently in our direction I begin to wonder; the wings don't seem long enough - it might be a sparrowhawk which appears larger in silhouette against this bright sky. It circles again and this time there's no doubt that it's a buzzard; we see the 'fingers' of the primary feathers spread at the end of each wing.

buzzard To our surprise it continues in our direction and flies at no more than 150 feet heading out of sight beyond a neighbour's roof.

I don't think you'd describe buzzards as being rare in Yorkshire but, in my experience, they are infrequent visitors to this part of the Calder valley and, as far as I can remember, this is the first time we've seen one from the garden in the 19 years that we've been here.

Barbara gets a brief impression of the underwing markings which makes us think that this might be a juvenile bird (that's an adult bird in my sketch).

lapwings As we sit out with our meal in the early evening (you've got to make the most of the British summer) 19 lapwings fly directly over us heading north west up the valley. We saw a group of 19, perhaps the same birds, heading in the same direction at about the same time a few days page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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