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Saturday, 12 March 2016

Common Buzzard Duel - The Praiseworthy Knight Winning Fair Lady.

Competing for the fair Lady
Over several weeks I have seen a large bird of prey that I thought might have been something other than a buzzard. This is due to its size and dark brown colouring. I hoped it might be an eagle. However, I was informed that the bird, in question, was definitely a buzzard. But I did not know this when my tale began on Saturday 12th March 2016.

My wife wanted to go to the nursery gardens in Doddington. I told her that this was a good thing because there was this strange bird in close proximity. I also said that it might be something other than a Common Buzzard. Perhaps a Sea Eagle? I took my camera with my new Nikon 300m lens. The one acquired in Salisbury the week before.

We first did our plant buying and managed to get some black bamboo. Also some shrubs. With the car loaded up like a miniature greenhouse on wheels we went further along the country lane back passed the Doddington hospital. We came to a small turn off along the country road called Parsons Drove Lane. It was a very rough, pot holed, track, leading out into the Fenland. There were scattered dwellings here and there in the middle of all the crop fields. Also a derelict house standing alone in a field.

I told my wife, Carole that I had seen the bird of prey, when our dustbin lorry went up this bumpy old road on previous occasions. We emptied the household garbage of the scattered dwellings in this part of the Fen.

As we approached another detached farm house, along the bumpy road, we saw two men, by a van putting ferrets into a cage. I stopped and asked about the big bird of prey that I had often seen in the area. They replied that they had seen the bird and it lived over by a line of trees on the other side of a cropped field where we were. The line of conifers was there but the men said their sighting had been in the morning.

I asked if they thought it might be an eagle because of its darker, than usual, brown colouring and size. With complete confidence the Fenlands men informed me that the bird, I had seen, was most definitely, a common buzzard. Not an eagle. I thanked them and drove away.

We were on our way back along the old lane, heading for home. I accepted the no show of my bird of prey. We had only gone back about three hundred feet when wife, with her astute sight, spotted three buzzards in the air.

I put the brakes on along the bumpy lane and got out of the car. I was armed with my new zoom lens and focused in on the buzzards. They were at distance but one can clearly make out the dual between two males fighting for the attentions of a fair lady buzzard. She flew below the male aerial combat.  

I was multiple clicking with the Nikon D3100. I was working on the principle that with a machine gun barrage of camera shots I could put the SD memory card on the laptop and select the best of the shots. I am not sure if any of these buzzards are the large brown bird of prey I had seen so often, because they were so far away.

When I got home, I knew I had seen two male Common Buzzards fighting and displaying their talons while the female flew below or upon the outer edge of the contest. As I went through the shots on my computer, I saw the female flying in and out of the photos and finally she went down low towards a telegraph pole. She perched on something midway up the pole. Perhaps the foot grips that the cable repair men use?

One of the male buzzards flew away - abject and defeated, while the victorious male buzzard, of the dual, flew down and followed the female's flight path. It seemed as though he might land on top of the same telegraph pole, where the female was still perched halfway down.

He fluttered his wings at the top of the pole, as though he might perch amid the wire cables. Then he seemed to think better of it. With a change of mind, he just flew off towards the horizon.

I thought to myself, ‘why go through such a contest and then leave your prized fair lady?’ 'What a waste - why? 

As the male buzzard made his way over a distant farm building, my heart leaped with excitement and joy. The female buzzard launched herself from the centre of the telegraph pole and pursued the male into the afternoon sun. Perhaps the knight knew he had done his part? Maybe, in some strange buzzard language, he had done the correct proposal thing?


The champion had won his fair lady. The wooed female seemed impressed with her commendable knight and followed him into the fine afternoon.

Battling for the attention of the fair lady

Only one can win such affection

The fair lady flies below the duel

Only one can win

A brief pause before the contest resumes

Again the fair lady inspects the contest

Only the most determined will win

The winning strike or display can clinch it

Keep going, keep competing 

The dogfight continues

The fair lady glides around the fringes of the contest

The males return to the match

The winner sees off the loser

The female finds a safe perch on the telegraph pole

The victorious male glides down

The Fair Lady is his

Ready to land, but no!

He flies away as the female launches off in pursuit

She chases her champion into the afternoon


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