06 May 2010

Montagu's magic!

On 28 April a friend rang me with the news that he was watching a wing-tagged female Montagu's Harrier in the Horsey area of northeast Norfolk. Even better, he'd been able to read the tags - left wing: black 0 on yellow, right wing: black 0 on green. As the story unfolded, it transpired that the bird had first been seen the day before at Dunwich, Suffolk, but identified as a Hen Harrier. It was seen regularly during the week, finding its way back to Minsmere by 3 May, where Jon Evans managed to capture some interesting images:

With a bit of help from their friends, the Ringing Team quickly tracked down this individual's origin - it was ringed and tagged as a nestling on 18 July 2008 in Villeneuve, France, 817 kilometres south of Horsey.

This is only the third foreign-ringed Montagu's Harrier to be found in the UK. The first was way back in the 1920s; a chick ringed in the Netherlands in June 1928 was reported (in unknown circumstances) in Suffolk a year later. The second was an unfortunate individual found freshly dead on a road at Invershin in Highland, Scotland on 7 October 2002, just 60 days after it was ringed as a nestling in France.

The map below shows just how close the origin of this week's bird was to that of the Scottish recovery.

View Montagu's Harriers in a larger

1 comment:

  1. And this very bird has just graced my local Patch (Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire) on 20th and 21st May. Last seen heading high and rapidly south-west...