Ray Turner's picture

Hobby (probably not)

Observed: 9th September 2012 By: Ray Turner
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
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Description:

Another photo you may have to take my word for, this time taken with a proper (not phone) camera but a long long way away.
Spotted this 'pigeon' flying across the road from left to right before realising it was just a bit too small for a pigeon and it had scythe like wings and a longish looking tail. It also exhibited a distinct glide phase in flight. It ended up perched, facing the other way of course and into the sun, on top of the tv aerial to a newly converted block of flats. It took a little while to sink in but I was looking at a Hobby in the middle of Clapham Junction.
As luck would have it I was returning home from a day out and so had bins and camera. Spent a few minutes watching it through binoculars before putting the camera together. The photos are rather distant and I have played with exposure and cropped enormously and I’m still not sure if you can positively ID the bird from them or not; the pale rump is also giving me pause for thought. A juvenile? The photo used is the only one giving a hint of bill and head.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) interacts

Comments

ophrys's picture

Accipiter

Apart from the scythe-shaped wings, everything you describe fits for a small male Sparrowhawk. Gliding flight, location, long legs, long tail, slate-grey back...all point to Sparrowhawk.

Hobby would sit in a more upright stance than this bird, too,

Ian
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My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

Ray Turner's picture

If it was...

... a sparrowhawk it was awfully small and I have to say some nearby feral pigeons were totally unperturbed by it but I suspect you are right Ian, the pale rump has had me puzzled from the start.

However I am used to seeing both and my initial instinct was Hobby.

Ray

Ray

Ray Turner's picture

Legs

Long legs puzzling too

Ray

ophrys's picture

Sparrowhawk

If anything, a male Sparrowhawk is very slightly smaller than a Hobby. It also has very long legs, longer than a Hobby.
Perhaps the wings appeared narrow as the bird was moving quickly and had them angled back?

Ian
_________________

My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

Ray Turner's picture

Wishful Thinking

The wing shape is the only thing holding me back from Accipiter, as you say everything else points that way. Probably a bit of wishful thinking, though we do get Hobbys at the London Wetland Centre not far down the river and there are ponds nearby with plenty of dragonfly fodder so it’s not out the question.

Ray

browntrumpet's picture

Hobby/Sprawk

Wing tips of Hobby would come down to tail tip. Stance and long legs are right for Sparrowhawk.
Males are small, much smaller than female.

Ray Turner's picture

Title changed ...

... to reflect ID

Ray

Ray