On my bike ride commutes to and from work, I have seen a lot of wildlife; Rabbits, Foxes, Badgers, Grey Squirrels, of which there is a whole village worth of them on the Middlewood way. I have seen various Herons, Moorhens, Ducks, Canadian Geese, Seagulls, Robins, Blue Tits, and a whole host of other birds I know not the names of.
My sighting this morning was almost surreal. I was cycling on the main road towards work, as I was passing a farmer’s field, I noticed something swoop down just to the other side of the leafless bush on my left. My first thought was the word “Awesome” as I saw the bird of prey. Approximately 1-1.5 feet in height (at a guess). It stood looking around, checking the coast was clear. I am guessing it had captured a mouse or vowel in it’s talons. If it didn’t mean stopping all of the traffic due to the lack of a pavement (sidewalk for our American readers), I would have gotten off my bike and taken a photo.
After some process of elimination using the RSPB website, I think I saw a Female Buzzard hunting. I remember the body being brown and possible dark specs or stripes. Please remember, this was a brief encounter and I was travelling at approximately 23 mph as the whole event took place. The one thing that did stand out was yellow on its beak. Now I cannot say whether it was a full yellow beak. My mind says it was, but that isn’t necessarily what I saw.
Was this the bird of prey I saw this morning? (see Buzzard image below)
It’s hard to tell as my memory of this morning fades, but this is the best answer I could find.
Now the commonest and most widespread UK bird of prey. It is quite large with broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail. When gliding and soaring it will often hold its wings in a shallow ‘V’ and the tail is fanned. Birds are variable in colour from all dark brown to much paler variations, all have dark wingtips and a finely barred tail. Their plaintive mewing call could be mistaken for a cat.
Where to see them
Greatest numbers in Scotland, Wales, the Lake District and SW England, but now breeding in every county of the UK. Found in most habitats particularly woodland, moorland, scrub, pasture, arable, marsh bog and villages. May even be seen in towns and cities including Glasgow. Look for birds soaring over wooded hillsides in fine weather, or perched on fence posts and pylons. In some areas they are known as the tourists’ eagle, often being mistaken for this larger bird of prey.
Now think on this for a moment. If I had been in my car, would I have experienced this wonder of nature?
Another great reason for leaving the motorised vehicle at home and getting out on your bike.