Thursday, October 10, 2013

In support of the ID of Honey Buzzard I found

I've masked the exact site name.

It says "flat wings  ....sometimes dipping ......more head, unusual wing angle than common buzzard also present".

Terrible grammar I know ! And wouldn't my notebook be back home when something different turns up !
I used the corner of my sketch-book.

I was using 8x42 hi-definition RSPB (Viking) bins. Due to bright sky I didn't get much detail, only a large pale under-primary patch.

It didn't have much of the jizz of the Common Buzzard I had just been watching moments before.

I have experience of Honey Buzzard from various places including Cornwall and Magdalen Down, near Winchester, when I watched two very close for as long as I wanted (2 years ago,) which were giving their unusual call, slightly gull-like I thought at the time.

Respect your opinions - either way.


Nick Carter said...

Comment passed on to me by Mick Cunningham, for some reason he is unable to post directly to this blog.

Hello Steve

I am always interested in records of HB. It is still a YNU Desc species and, perhaps, I ought not to comment as I am on the committee but as you have invited comments I thought I'd reply. I will not say which species I think it is and am always v wary of blurry pix- but I offer some thoughts that I always apply when considering HB The difficulty with many reports is unqualified references to 'flat wings'. Contrary to what many suggest, this is not diagnostic unless you mean when soaring. Have another read of the detailed descriptions of flight mode. CBs like HBs 'fly' and glide on basically flat wings. It is only when they soar they use a V. As opposed to a soaring HB which is always flat glide or soar. Many birders I know see a 'buzzard' on 'flat' wings and are already minded to call HB. But if it's 'glidig' it's not relevant. Mobbed raptors dip their wings when jinking/depending on air conditions. Mind you any buzzard in a prolonged flat-winged soar is def worth a look. The other problem is that the 'V' soar in common buzzard is linked to territory and dominance. A young CB or stranger intruding on a resident pair's territory will soar on flat wings as a sign of submission until danger passes. Lastly, the shape of juv common buzzards ie most of those seen in the autumn is different from adults. They have longer, thinner wings and longer tails so look altogether less squat. In fact, more like HB. (In comparison, juv HBs are squatter than adult CBs - juvs mimic CB shape as a defence mechanism). These are some basic caveats. I would invite you to look at the shape of the tail corners, whether there are any 'hanging hips' beyond the nipped in wing base. And the date is very important - but not totally indicative. I think it's a bit hard to determine plumage - but maybe not impossible? Hope this is of interest. Regards Mick Cunningham

Steve Blacksmith said...

Thanks for those copious notes Mick.
I'll reserve my judgement over the bird I saw until I've looked at my evidence a bit more and thought about your comments.
Kind regards
Steve Blacksmith