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Monday, 8 November 2010

The AMERICAN MARSH HAWK in County Wexford - a selection of images taken over the weekend by Michael O'Keefe

Ignoring the minutia of the primary pattern and the number of visible bars on the outer primaries, this bird can be safely identified on a number of characters. It is uniformly dark on the upperparts with just a contrasting buff patch on the carpals, there is little hint of a pale collar and the head is very sooty and hooded-like, particularly when head-on in profile. There is restricted pale around the eye and in flight, the wings are overall more rounded and far more accipiter (Goshawk-like) in shape. The underparts are heavily saturated with orange or rusty-buff, extending on to the flanks and belly. It shows a full suite of characters. A percentage of juvenile Hen Harriers may share some of these features but for one individual to possess all of these features surely justifies its unequivocal identification (Lee G R Evans)