In Volker's opinion:
"By the pictures Hen Harrier can be ruled out. I think, and so do two other birders I showed the pictures, that it is a second year Montagu's though it looks a bit odd, especially due to its rather broad wings. I still have to look up some identification literature that I don't have at home to be sure but so far the pictures might help in the discussion."
In Lee Evans' opinion:
"Thanks to Vaughan Ashby and his photographic abilities, I have been able to solve the mystery surrounding the harrier that we all saw on Madeira in July. As I said at the time, I was extremely unhappy with the Pallid Harrier theory and thought perhaps it was either Montagu's Harrier or North American Marsh Hawk.
Vaughan's image clarifies all this. The bird has dark tips to the inner primaries - clearly a Montagu's Harrier feature. The pale collar is surprisingly obvious in the images (appeared as a wash of white on the rear-crown in the field) and is too broad for Pallid. The bird also has too much white around the eye socket isolating the ear-covert patch.
I consulted Dick Forsman for a second view and he replied after studying the image thus -:
''Lee, this is a Montagu's Harrier, no question! The collar is far too broad and nondescript for a Pallid. There is too much white around the eye, leaving a typically isolated ear-covert patch and not a dark face. The primary-barring could be ok for both Montagu's and Pallid, but the prominent dark tips to the inner primaries speaks again for Montagu's''
This once again reiterates the importance of compiling detailed notes and getting photographs. I am most grateful to all of you in help in this matter"
In Madeira Wind Birds' opinion:
"After seeing these two good pictures, we still say it is a Pallid Harrier as it did not fly like a Montagu's Harrier, it was not a buoyancy flight... More, its wings are pointed though its flight feathers are not dark-tipped but paler as on the juvenile Pallid Harrier.
As seen on the picture, its back is almost uniformly brown, without the dark band just outside coverts which juvenile Montagu's usually present.
We can not see its light collar but the dark around it suggests again a juvenile Pallid instead of a Montagu's..."
Please give us your opinion!
Other interesting sightings from Volker Hesse was a Peregrine Falcon in Caniçal on the 24th of July and a Berthelot's pipit with a yellow ring without numbers on it in Ponta de São Lourenço on the 25th of July 2008.
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