Challenging conditions

Early Saturday morning, mid July, I called in at Blacktoft Sands nature reserve. Drizzle alternated with showers. The waters displayed only a scattering of nondescript ducks, and it was mostly pigeons that flew across the reeds or clattered on the roof of the hide.

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On the branches of distant shrubs hunched marsh harriers, veiled or revealed by the drifting mists. These, I think, were fledged chicks, joined occasionally by parents. I only saw the adults fly or hunt.

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The views were too poor for detailed drawings, and I found it a struggle to capture any sense of these birds on paper that day.

Marsh harrier, hunting

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A couple of weekends ago, I went early in the morning to the Bird Sanctuary at Blacktoft Sands on the Humber.  Sweeping across the reed beds with my binoculars, I chanced upon a female marsh harrier sitting just above the foliage, preening and stretching her wings.

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Periodically, she flew across the marsh, hovering and then dropping, wings above her, to snatch prey.

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