Thursday, 21 June 2018

Reading RSPB Local Group

MEMBERS had an unusual sighting on a spring walk along the Thames near South Stoke.

MEMBERS had an unusual sighting on a spring walk along the Thames near South Stoke.

In very pleasant May sunshine, the group had seen a variety of warblers singing in the riverside bushes as well as a few birds of prey, such as buzzard, red kite, kestrel and three elegant hobbies.

Another buzzard-like raptor appeared which upon closer inspection turned out to be a Harris hawk which usually resides in the southern United States and South America.

Group leader Peter Spillett said: “The Harris hawk is often used for pigeon-scaring in the UK.

“Unusually for a bird of prey, it’s a social species and falconers find it easier to train. This bird was undoubtedly an escapee or even on a training flight but there was no sign of its owner. We couldn’t see any falconer’s jesses on its legs but it was ringed.”



The bird was in view for about 20 minutes, soaring and swooping over the river, and made the morning riverside walk a very memorable one.

The next indoor meeting will take place at Pangbourne village hall on Tuesday, June 14 at 8pm and will feature an illustrated talk by Barry Kaufmann-Wright entitled “The role of a police wildlife crime officer”. Visitors are always warmly welcomed.

For more information, visit www.reading-rspb.org.uk



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