I headed back to my tried and trusted Poole Harbour haunt at the weekend. Not for Deer though. This time I was after avian subjects – Harriers. Of course, if the opportunity arose for deer I was always going to take it, and it did, so I did – if you get my drift.
A steady breeze across the heath and into the trees gave me the perfect approach to the deer grounds. It was quite late so I didn’t expect to see many, if any. I was therefore pleasantly surprised as I approached the treeline to see a fine mature stag peering through the trees. Not only that, but a white stag. I got the impression that this was a larger specimen compared to the white stag of the previous week, although this one did not have a harem of hinds with him.
I managed to get a little closer, but never clear enough for a decent shot.
I hurried on to the reedbeds, scanning over the top of the reeds hopimg to see a harrier quartering along. No such luck.
Curlew, Green sandpiper, more sika deer, godwits and a couple of egrets where all I could muster after standing around for ages. Just as I was leaving (as always happens!) right over my head came this massive wing span, swooping low behind the willow to my right then away over the beds.
A Marsh Harrier!
I then spent a frustrating time waiting for it to head back my way. Not a bit of it – it stayed way out of sensible reach of my camera lens and then dropped down into cover. A second Harrier appeared on scene soon after, and played the same trick – keeping out into the bay as it passed by. Still, I got some shots. It’s just a case perhaps of going back and setting up a proper hide at some time.
I did see another raptor, as a common buzzard made a gliding pass over the woodland before being harrassed by a couple of jackdaws and heading back into the trees.
I then paid a quick visit to the main hide to see what was visiting the feeders. Good to see that the squirrel proof feeders were working well!
The squirrels were still getting plenty of food, thrown down by the woodpecker who seemed to be dislodging plenty of the nuts!
You can see part of the reedbeds from the Hide. It didn’t help when I noticed the female Harrier flying low over the very spot that I had been stood only an hour or so before. That’s it – decision made. I’m setting up my hide and waiting, and waiting… and waiting…