Compiled by Mark E Turner and Christine Turner

The New Year began promisingly with several parties observing an over-wintering Merlin near Evesham’s Vale Park. It is becoming increasingly clear just by our own observations since 1996, that the River Avon flood plain, running north to south in a line from Pitchill through Harvington, Offenham and east of Evesham bypass to Bretforton (3˝ km), is an annual wintering area for the species.

Indeed I am also very pleased to witness the annual occurrence of the Merlin around Broadway. This year’s sightings were on 7th and 23rd February.

Another raptor appearing more often in our recording area is the Red Kite. The general feeling within the birding community is that a young unpaired bird is touring the area between Bredon Hill and Broadway Hill.

2003 proved yet again to be another vintage Hobby year not least in the Broadway area. The season’s first sighting was of three birds soaring with a Sparrowhawk on 7th May.

Hot on the Hobbies’ heals came a Honey Buzzard on 15th May, when it stopped off for a rest in a small coppice near Chipping Campden.

Throughout August the incessant cries of 2003’s Buzzard fledglings rang out all around the local area, the species continues to go from strength to strength.

Finally, a note for Harry Green’s interest, on 29th June a Broadway Hill resident Common Buzzard (adult) was soaring over our house and garden clutching a prey item. The catch was of the feathered variety, (two limp legs seen dangling), and was carried over to the nest wood into which the Buzzard dropped like a stone. Two fledglings survived and were on the wing at the end of July.

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