'Raptor City'

Tuesday, April 23rd 1013

If there's one thing our local patch, Portland's East Weares, is good for, that's Raptors. We have four regular species, whilst several more have occurred.

There's no doubt we have the most easily viewable Peregrines on Portland, possibly for miles, who knows?  The nesting site is totally inaccessible and watched over by so many locals that to date the birds have remained safe, year after year. Peregrines literally right overhead almost every visit!

Then we have Buzzards. Not many years ago sightings of Honey Buzzards migrating over the island were a more regular sight than the Common species. All that has changed now. We are fortunate on the Weares by being mid way between two Buzzard territories: one to the south at the Southwell landslip, the other to the north, on the cliff below Nikodemus Knob.

We also have Sparrowhawks. This is the least easy of the four regular raptors to see. At this time of year there's a pair present and displaying near the Portland Port fence at the northern perimeter of our 'territory'. They almost certainly breed over in the Port land. In the autumn, Sparrowhawk can often be seen hunting along the cliff at Penn's Weare, picking off small migrants as they pass through.

Sparrowhawk - East Weare, Portland - April 23rd 2013

Our fourth regular raptor, seen throughout the year here, is the Kestrel. We have seen up to five or six at a time some days in autumn. There is a regular pair along by the Port fence. Last but not least we also have this happy couple, photographed this morning, near their nest hole by Grove Point.

Kestrels - Grove Point, Portland - April 23rd 2013

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