domingo, 15 de diciembre de 2013

Booted Eagles

 Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) dark morph: photo Antonio Camacho Lorenzo

The Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) is a regular but scarce passage migrant in winter on the Canary Islands. On La Palma, solitary birds are reported almost every year, with as many as five individuals on the island simultaneously in 2007. Not much larger than the resident Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), and often flying at considerable altitudes, their presence is easily ignored.

 The same bird, being harassed by a kestrel. Photo: Antonio Camacho Lorenzo

The first two photographs in the present post were kindly sent to me by Antonio Camacho Lorenzo, who observed this dark morph bird in Los Barros (Los Llanos de Aridane) on Dec 14.

However, the first notification of Booted Eagle received this year came from a visiting birder (John Perry) who saw a pale morph specimen above the Parador in Breña Baja on Oct 24. I made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to find his bird, but it wasn't until Dec 13 that I spotted a pale morph eagle soaring above the Risco de la Concepción viewpoint near Santa Cruz: possibly the bird observed by John Perry? As usual, the migrant raptor was being persistently harassed by kestrels and a small flock of Red-billed Chough.

Returning to the viewpoint today (Dec 15), I had distant views of the same pale morph bird, and managed to get the two pictures below...proof that there are at least two Booted Eagles on the island at the moment.

 Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus), pale morph

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