One of our buzzards is missing

Today’s been a good day. The weather’s been great and spring really seems to have arrived. Swallows are everywhere, willow warblers are singing all over the place, and butterflies are flitting around.

This morning I had a trip up to Rocher Head – after a couple of trips up to find wheatears recently, I finally got a tip where to find them (the fields near Cowell Flats) and got good views of two of them (cheers, Richard!). Wandering back down Agden Side, I heard two singing tree pipits. Believe it or not this is a life tick for me, despite them being fairly common in western Sheffield – it really pays to learn your bird songs! Other highlights included loads of curlews, lapwings, a singing blackcap and two linnets.

This afternoon I decided to have another short walk, and took the wooded footpath to the south of the River Loxley. I stopped suddenly when I saw a large buzzard perched in a tree a matter of feet away from me. A brilliant patch tick! But then it dawned on me this easily approached buzzard was a bit suspicious. I inched a bit further forward and it flew off, and I noticed there was something hanging from its foot. It didn’t move far, and I caught up with it before long, and my suspicions were correct – the thing hanging from its foot was a leather strap. Obviously some falconer’s lost their buzzard! I’ll be keeping my eyes open for this bird on future trips.

Other patch highlights included a male blackcap, a few swallows, six linnets, two curlews and the little owls at Old Wheel Farm again (if you want to see a little owl this is the place to go!). I also got a non-bird patch tick with a common toad at Old Wheel Dam.


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My name is Pete

4 thoughts on “One of our buzzards is missing”

  1. Hi there,

    We’ve just had a wonderful walk round Agden (Blackcap, Nuthatch, Tree Creeper and Swallows within 5 mins – all first times this year) and on the way back driving down Rowel Lane I thought we’d try for a Little Owl not having seen one for years. Thanks to your blog for the info!

    We walked up from the bridge watched a Blackcap gathering nesting materials then up to the Old Wheel Farm and walked back along the lane from the farm and I thought I glimpsed a Brambling in the ploughed field on the left. Raising our binoculars my wife announced Wheatear – but after watching the male and female for some time, now on the wall we’re convinced we saw Winchats. Have you ever seen them on your patch before?


  2. Hi Nick, did you manage to get a little owl? If I go down that way between about 5 and dusk there’s always one or two on the walls on the road leading to the farm, but they can be hard to spot among the dry stone walling!

    I’ve never seen whinchat or wheatear but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there – things still surprise me on my patch (and I’m still waiting to see a bloody kingfisher…). I saw some linnets up there the other day, could that be a possibility? Otherwise whinchat isn’t that unlikely, they could have stopped off on their way to their breeding grounds at Agden. I’ll keep my eyes open!

  3. Hi Pete,

    No we never saw the Little Owls but as we often sneak over the hill to your patch I’m sure we will soon. No not Linnets I grew up with them though sadly they are a rare sighting for me these days as in a few times each year instead of every day. I’d love to be able to freeze a moment in time and have an accurate replay but after trawling through every picture I can I am sure it was a pair of Whinchat. So we are on 87 this year but we haven’t been to the seaside or to Potterick Carr or Old Moor for the newly arrived waders.
    Thanks for the site it does inspire me and provide me with ideas for a walk or two.


  4. Not a bad tally! Without a couple of trips to OId Moor and Flamborough I’ve had I reckon you’d be beating me!

    I’ll be scouring that area for whinchats in future visits! That’s the great thing about patch watching, it can be frustrating at times but well worth it when something new crops up, and there’s always surprises to find that make it worthwhile. Let me know if you see anything else interesting in that neck of the woods.

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