Today my mother, grandparents and I went to Farlington Marshes nature reserve near Portsmouth. Farlington is one of the oldest reserves managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. We went in search of Short Eared Owls which we had heard were being spotted there recently, but when we arrived the conditions were incredibly windy and most of the birds were hunkered down, sheltering. Undeterred we continued with our circuit of the reserve and good job we did too, for when we were only 100 metres in a Marsh Harrier took off out of the reeds and flew about almost posing for the camera.
Here is a shot of the harrier scanning for prey. There were all sorts of waders and wildfowl in the salt and fresh water lagoons within the breakwater, and great flocks of small waders that I think were dunlin.
I spotted the unmistakable pale headed harrier as it launched itself from the reeds.
After a few circuits of the area the bird of prey proceeded to fly in amongst a flock of starlings. The smaller birds were quick to escape, although I’m not sure if the marsh harrier would have attempted to catch them.
A little later we checked the skies for another predator as every bird on the ground flew up in a startled frenzy. The sudden appearance of a peregrine falcon became apparent as it patrolled the reserve. It was difficult to film the peregrine as it was very far away and moving very fast.
As we came through the final gate out of the nature reserve we spotted a kestrel perched in a tree only 5 or so metres away from us very intent on something below it. I took the opportunity to take as many photographs as I could. Here are the best of those images:
Once I had finished the kestrel took off, and began hovering in a fixed position nearby so I carried on filming. The light levels weren’t great but it was so lovely to see.