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Raptors – Rails

Birds featured on this page are Raptors, Gamebirds and Rails. Over half of these species are resident year round, whilst the others have only been seen when passing through on migration, etc. A selection of images can be seen in the gallery and then the status of each individual species on the park is detailed below that.

Honey Buzzard  Extremely rare migrant, only confirmed records 23rd & 27th September 2000 during the nationwide autumn invasion, but also ‘probables’ reported 24th June 2002, 3rd June 2007, 18th May 2008 and 3rd July 2011.

Red Kite  Very common resident, especially to the West, North West and North East, numbers generally increasing all the time, with 20-40 birds in the general area.

Marsh Harrier  Annual migrant since 2000, occurring between early April and late May, then early August to late September.

Hen Harrier  Extremely rare migrant, 2 possibly 3 records. A male over 29th May 2001, a harrier sp 26th January 2008 likely to have been Hen and a male 3rd November 2011.

Montagu’s Harrier Extremely rare migrant, one record of a juvenile over South 26th August 2007.

Goshawk  Extremely rare vagrant. 4 highly reliable records, a female over 23rd April 2002, a male over Lavell’s then East 1st July 2002, an immature female 6th & 15th April 2009 and finally a possible 22nd December 2011. The authenticity of most of these records is based on sound descriptions by credible and experienced observers.

Sparrowhawk  Common resident and breeds on the park every year.

Common Buzzard  Common resident, numbers rising to near 20 in the autumn.

Osprey  Annual migrant, but often missed due the speed in which they pass over. Occurs between early April to mid May, then early August to late September.

Kestrel  Fairly common resident, reduced in numbers in the last 10 or so years.

Red-footed Falcon  Extremely rare vagrant, one confirmed record, 3rd June 1992, one probable over 6th October 2012.

Merlin  Very uncommon, but probably annual passage migrant, most likely in March, September and October. Often male Sparrowhawk are misidentified as Merlin.

Hobby  Annual summer visitor, 1-4 birds appearing late April to May, over BSL, Sandford, Lavell’s, LFGP and the landfill. A record count of 14 on 27th May 2002 was exceptional. Infrequent during June and July, but passage birds lead to 3-4 birds in August and September, rare in early October.

Peregrine  Resident in the Reading and Bracknell areas from 2003, meaning birds can occur in any month, but most frequently in January to April circling over LFGP to BSL.

Red-legged Partridge  Now rare visitor due to housing developments, most records are in March and April, but can occur anywhere on the park. 2 on Lea Farm GP landfill 16-9-16 for 2 days.

Grey Partridge  Now locally extinct, never common even in the 1980’s, recorded 8 times in 1985, last records of one sighting per year in 1988, 1989 and 1990.

Pheasant  Common resident, especially in the North of the park and around the feeders.

Water Rail  Annual winter visitor, to all our reed beds and quieter ditches. Most commonly seen at Tern scrape and even under the feeders. Birds return in August, or September, then remain until mid April. Most vocal near dusk.

Spotted Crake  Very rare autumn visitor to Lavell’s Tern scrape, the first on Tern scrape 27th September 1987, then 1 there 21st August to 21st September 1997, then one there 7th to 9th August 1999, the next on Tern scrape again was 4th to 6th September 2002, but one reported again 7th & 8th October. The last was a possible at Teal scrape on a very late date of 20th November 2005.

Moorhen  Common resident, found on all lakes

Coot  Common resident, found on all lakes, some build up of numbers in winter.

Marsh Harrier, pursued by Common Tern 22nd Aug 2009, Alan Rymer


Red-legged Partridge

Water Rail, Dave Bartlett

Spotted Crake