The Common Buzzard (buteo buteo) is a medium to large-sized bird of prey with a wingspan of around 1.3 meters and which mates for life, which can be up to 25 years. It is unmistakable and easy to spot in the air, with its broad fanned-out tail and wingtips and effortless, relaxed flight. I never tire of seeing them soaring over my home town of Bideford, sometimes in groups of five or more. (In Scotland, the Buzzard is known as a 'Tourist Eagle' due to its similarity in all but size!). If you hear a sudden commotion from crows and seagulls overhead when walking on The Trail, it is often caused by a buzzard flying too close for their comfort, and they mob the buzzard noisily to chase it away. It is often seen atop old telegraph poles along The Trail when flying conditions are poor. They are less often perched at low level, and I suspect this one had its eye on something in the reeds, but was well aware of me and flew off as I approached - this was the closest I have been to a buzzard. Their dappled brown plumage is a good camouflage, and if one takes to flight close by before you've spotted it, you'll be in for quite a start! Keep your eyes open for one of North Devon's most magnificent birds.
For the photographers reading, these shots were both taken handheld at 200mm/f5.6, 1/3200sec at ISO800 using an old Nikon D5000 and 55-200mm lens, and processed using Affinity Photo.