Saturday, 4 August 2018

Intriguing falcon: Eleonora's or Red-footed?

Just as Linda and I were saying goodbye to our good friends Jane & Jason this afternoon, I glanced up to see a very long-winged, darkish falcon swooping about high above our heads. The camera was in the boot of our car, so I grabbed a few distant shots. Linda and I independently picked out some intriguing features:

1) The bird had very long 'pointy' wings
2) It was swooping around in a very Swift-like fashion: it resembled an Alpine Swift in many ways
3) It had an obvious mask and cap, and there was some orange on its underwings and vent region.

It wasn't a Kestrel, Hobby or Peregrine: I've never seen an Eleonora's in the wild, but my thoughts were immediately drawn to the species by its behaviour, size and coloration.

Informed opinions most welcome!





7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This from Forsman Raptor book for Eleonora's "wings are long, appear rather powerful and stiff yet flexible and elegant at the same time... gives impression of elegance and masterly flying skills... is rather distinctive, showing small head, long and narrow tail, long and slim wings with pointed tips, very straight trailing edge... underparts show diagnostic paler 'skua-flash' on outer primaries even at distance" Might be worth putting on fb or a forum for more comments.

David said...

Very kind of you to comment: much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

I think from the photos available this bird looks very much like a Hobby... How did you rule out Hobby?

David said...

Hi! Thanks for your input: in real life the bird didn't look at all like a Hobby (which we see over the Heath on a daily basis) : the wings were stiff, longer and narrower than a Hobby. Also the jizz was quite different to anything I've seen before - more like a large Swift...

Steven Richards said...

Hi David, I recently lost "Peggy" my Bat falcon from my holiday home near Hingham, Did you notice a contrasting white chest on the bird?

David said...

Hi Steven!
Not at the time, but there does seem to be a pale 'bib' on my first photo....
Hope Peggy comes home soon!

Anonymous said...

I see a couple of the usual suspects (the East Coast Suppressors Club) have been slagging you off on twitter, Dave! Some people need to get a life!