Took a short trip to Loncé at the southern end of the Brière this afternoon as there was little wind, blue sky and sunshine but temperatures were still -4 / -5°C. It was relatively quiet overall but a Snipe feeding just beside the track gave great views for several minutes and I managed some decent photos. Further on at the end of the track I climbed the footbridge and sat down to scan the reedbeds and open areas to the north where hunting Marsh Harriers (15+) were very much the most obvious species along with c.10 Buzzards. A Water Pipit was feeding along the side of the frozen canal and a couple of Green Sandpipers were also flying around the area.

In the distance I picked up a rather pale brown raptor sitting on the ground and could just about make out a darker crown, pale cheeks and a smallish moustachial stripe. In the slightly hazy conditions it also seemed to have pale underparts, perhaps barred on the breast sides but the distance involved prevented any real detail to be noted. I continued watching it hoping it would fly, which it eventually did after about 10 minutes as it set off in pursuit of a passing Marsh Harrier. I was a little surprised to see it resembled a Peregrine though both the wings and tail seemed a bit longer than a typical bird and while the exact size wasn’t easy to judge I got the impression it may have been a little bit larger overall than a normal Peregrine though perhaps not quite as full-chested as the latter. I managed a few record shots with the camera as it had a go several times at the harrier which flipped upside down showing it’s talons before the falcon disappeared off northwards. My best guess is a calidus Peregrine from the Arctic regions of Siberia but the views were just too distant to be sure, unfortunately.

Common Snipe

Falcon sp. above (possibly a calidus Peregrine ?), with Marsh Harrier below.