Friday 27 May 2022

Eleonora's Falcon at Sandwich Bay

                                                   26th May 2022  :  Sandwich  Bay

Caspian Tern with Black-headed Gull.

Yesterday morning we started off at Pegwell Bay to hopefully see the Caspian Tern with a slim hope that the Kentish Plover might also make another appearance.

However no luck with the Kentish Plover but we had decent views of the Caspian Tern, the tide was fully in so it was decided to head to Sandwich bay and return later in the day to Pegwell bay to catch the tide on the way out.

Eleonora's Falcon photo by Tony Hambrook.

We arrived at Restharrow scrape at approx 09.10 and eventually made our way around to the new hide. As AE wanted to do some sound recording from there we left camera & scopes in the car (fatal mistake i hear you say !!) , AE was busy recording a Corn Bunting whilst i was just generally  birding looking at an Avocet on a nest wondering what the chances  of it's offspring's survival will be.

AE then picked up on a Falcon on the far side of the scrape , my initial thoughts were Hobby , however on closer inspection it appeared to long winged & tailed also it seemed quite big compared to the Corvids mobbing it plus the blackish underwing-coverts were clearly seen.

 There was no red on the undertail coverts but a reddish tinge to the body, the face pattern also appeared more white (having looked at Tony's photo's it shows it was lacking a second moustachial stripe !!)

We were trying to workout all the possibility's and even though Eleonora's Falcon was the obvious answer neither of us have seen one before and then the bird was gone , bugger we had no photo's to refer to and no experience with Eleonora's Falcon !!

Being mobbed.

Unknow to us at the time Tony Hambrook was thankfully  also on site and managed to get some photo's which clinched the ID of this incredible bird through the power & knowledge of Twitter .

We had left Sandwich by the time Tony had tweeted his photo's and we were still discussing the id features , however once we had seen Tony's photo's and reading  some of the expert comments from twitter it confirmed our thoughts that this was indeed a Pale morph Eleonora's Falcon.

Eleonora's Falcon photo by Tony Hambrook.

Many thanks to Tony Hambrook for letting me use his superb photo's of the Eleonora's Falcon on my blog and a huge congratulations to Tony on clinching the ID of this bird with them.

Of note Martyn Wilson also saw the Pale morph Eleonora's Falcon later in the afternoon at Stodmarsh, congrats Martyn !!