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Monday, 23 February 2009

Time for.........displaying NORTHERN GOSHAWKS



















Between now and 22 April, NORTHERN GOSHAWKS in southern Britain will be at their most active and most visible. On clear days with little to moderate wind, they will make the most of their display (see Sean Nixon's images above)

PRIME SITES

By far and away, the premier site in Britain for this species is NEW FANCY VIEW in the FOREST OF DEAN (GLOUCESTERSHIRE). The watchpoint at this location overlooks a large number of Goshawk territories (up to 22 pairs breed in the vicinity) and birds can be seen throughout the day, often with as many as 9 birds in the air at once. The nature of the land allows one to see perched birds in the forest and often, individuals fly past within 300 yards of where you stand. This really is a fantastic spectacle and should be on every birder's calendar in the first quarter.

If Gloucestershire is too far a drive then for those birders in the east of England, Ollie's Farm and Mayday Farm in Norfolk Breckland offer ample opportunities. Since early February, three different males (including one of last year's offspring) have been showing well and affording observers with some prolonged and reasonable 'scope views. The site is located just NW of Thetford. Park carefully in one of two layby's on the A11 400 yards west of the westernmost Thetford Bypass roundabout. Walk west to the entrance to Ollie's Farm and continue west along the main footpath through coniferous woodland for a mile to the 'watchpoint' on the main track where large numbers of felled trees have been stored. The birds can be seen over the large clearing to the NW, often sparring with the Red-tailed Hawk resident here. The same birds can also be seen rather distantly from the trail at Mayday Farm.