Rare bird spotted

PUBLISHED: 10:55 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:55 11 May 2010

BIRD watchers have been flocking to Reed hoping to catch a glimpse of a rare bird of prey. The rough-legged buzzard was first spotted around lunchtime on Saturday, November 15 and the word quickly spread around the twitchers community. The bird was pur

BIRD watchers have been "flocking" to Reed hoping to catch a glimpse of a rare bird of prey.

The rough-legged buzzard was first spotted around lunchtime on Saturday, November 15 and the word quickly spread around the twitchers' community.

The bird was pursued across the local countryside by members of the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert, before sightings were confirmed in a field west of the A10 just outside the village.

Group member Lee Evans, who made his way up from Amersham in Bucks, said: "I quickly got my telescope on to it and was surprised to see that it was in very fresh juvenile-type plumage. It sat in the field for about 15 minutes before taking flight.

"As it flew nearer I was able to get good views of its underparts. It had a paler upper breast with a strongly contrasting dark belly."

The rough-legged buzzard is very similar to the much more common buzzard, but only a small number spend the winter in the UK. It has the habit of hovering in the air while looking for prey, which includes rabbits and voles.

Only a handful of the species come to the UK each year, mainly to locations on the east coast. It gets its name from the fact its feet are feathered to the toes as an adaptation to its Arctic home range. It has an average weight of 1,026 grams and its wing span can grow up to 130 centimetres.


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