UK’s ‘largest’ Harrier heads for home via Whitehead

An eagle-eyed Whitehead birdwatcher has captured an image of another spectacular visitor to these shores.

The Marsh Harrier captured in flight at Whitehead by Cameron Moore.
The Marsh Harrier captured in flight at Whitehead by Cameron Moore.

Cameron Moore, whose patience in observing our feathered friends is regularly rewarded with prized sightings across east Antrim, has recently had confirmation that last month a Marsh Harrier had indeed come to his attention.

Cameron takes up the story: “On Sunday (April 15) afternoon, at the East end of the Jubilee Wood, I noticed a Marsh Harrier with green wing tags. I tried to photograph it but it went out of sight and couldn’t be found.

“The following day (Monday 16), I returned, hoping to see the bird again and hoping to get a few photos of it. To my surprise, I managed to get these photos and see the wing tags and the details on the tags. “I reported them to the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group. I was then informed that this bird was ringed as a chick at Norfolk.

“The bird was seen in Galway last year and I have now been informed by the ringing group in Norfolk that the bird has been seen in Spurn Point on the river Humber on the 28th of April. It is most likely returning to its breeding grounds in Norfolk.

“This is the largest Harrier in the UK. They eat small birds, rodents and insects.”
Cameron, who also shares his skills as part of initiatives to encourage more people into appreciating the wildlife on their own doorstep, has images of everything from egrets to dolphins in his albums.