Bird of Prey - what was it?


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Bird of Prey - what was it?

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Yesterday afternoon, I was out for a run along a stretch of river when a bird of prey swooped along the path in front of me - twice. It then sat on a branch over the river and watched me run past. Sadly, no pics, but the description:

Its wingspan was that of a herring gull plus about 30 cm! so pretty big. Its flight was slow and seemed an effortless swooping. The tips of its wings appeared darker than the rest of the wing.

When sitting in the tree facing me: its whole head was reddish brown down to its chest and it had a yellow beak - quite large (which reminded me scarily of runners being mobbed by birds of prey!!). Its chest was lightish with large, fairly spread out dark 'blobs'. Its tail and wing feathers looked a darkish brown.

We do have a number of local peregrines, but this really did not look like one as far as I could tell.

Does anyone have any ideas what this could have been??

I went back down to the same spot of river this morning with my camera, but no sign of it (though did see so many other species including a kingfisher). 

All Replies
  • I'll guess at Sparrowhawk. They really adept at sweeping in between trees looking for prey.


    A less likely possibility is a Buzzard

  • It seemed a bit big for a sparrow hawk(?), plus, it didn't have the barring on it's chest, more like dark blobs...(though I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert :-) )

  • The buzzard picture looks more like what I saw...

  • From the size, description and style of flight it sounds more like a Buzzard to me. I've only got a rather distant view of one perched.

  • Red Kite is another possibility