Saturday, 23 July 2016

Lesser Spotted Eagle

Kettle of Lesser spotted Eagles with the odd Short-toed Eagle and Booted Eagle

Immature. A small slim individual with just one narrow white outer carpal crescent.

Immature and juvenile

Adult type. Remiges dark with no barring.

Short p4, light brown underwing coverts and poorly marked carpal area with a hint of a double crescent.

2nd cy. Three new inner primaries and rest worn juvenile. All spots worn off the upperwing coverts.

No secondaries replaced yet and all showing the typical barring almost to the feather tip.

Immature. Nice sandy brown underwing coverts as body and double white comma.

Adult type with a Sparrowhawk.

Same as above. A large heavy and pale bird that will be a female. Indistinct double white comma. Just a hint of barring in the remiges.

Juvenile. Clean white edge to wings and tail.

Immature. Seems to have too many replaced secondaries for a 2nd cy and the primaries show at least one fresher primary in the middle. So pres' a 3rd cy.

Adult type

Immature. At least 3rd cy based on the primaries.

Immature and adult type

Same immature as above. No real colour difference between primaries and mostly new dark secondaries made me wonder if it is slightly older than 3rd cy? Undertail is still very pale and white edged greater coverts obvious.

Left bird is a 3rd cy with two retained outer primaries. Right bird an adult type.

Immature. An obvious white primary flash on this bird. What appears to be a relatively new p7 in both wings should make it more than a 2nd cy

A fairly dark individual with typical short p4 and narrow wings. Very small white outer comma and just an indication of an inner one

Some barring visible on the remiges.

Juvenile. Barring in remiges almost all the way to the feather tip.

Probably best to call this a subadult as I don't fully understand the moult shown by this bird. The inner primaries are a mixture of barred and dark feathers and some of the outer ones are very worn. Most of the secondaries are dark adult type.

Young adult. Body pretty much concolourus with the underwing coverts but with some pale on the undertail still. Some barring in inner primaries but secondaries look mostly dark. Primaries apart from p6 look relatively fresh.

Adult type. Almost lacking carpal crescents as many LSE seem to.

Adult. Same bird in next four photos.

This was a dark individual not helped by a grey sky. Wings narrow like LSE and tail relatively long. Short p4. Virtually no carpal crescents.

White primary shafts seemed to be a bit more like a GSE but I'm not sure I trust this feature. Didn't see the upperwing colour properly. Perhaps an interesting bird.


A beautiful juvenile.

Young adult? Very dark body and undertail almost dark. Remiges well barred. Seems a bit too advanced for a 3rd cy?



This beautiful juvenile eagle lingered for a while at station 2. It arrived with a juvenile GSE but that bird soon disappeared into the valley. We initially thought that this bird was also a GSE but the chestnut nape patch and extensive barring in the secondaries ruled that out. It was eventually recorded as a LSE but I'm not sure a hybrid can be ruled out as described below.

Clear cut ochre nape patch like LSE

Barring present in remiges. The dark bars were much thinner than the pale bars which isn't necessarily a problem for LSE. However, I wasn't convinced the barring stayed strong towards the pale feather tips.   

The clear cut pale tips to tail is typical of LSE.

The uppertail coverts were almost wholly white and the rump spots large and numerous. Better marked than any LSE I can remember seeing before.The background colour to this area was brownish unlike the black found in GSE.

The forewing colour depended on the angle of light. It could appear earthy brown one moment and then warmer the next as is visible in the last three photos below.

More LSE like here with the forewing appearing gingery.

A well marked juvenile LSE or hybrid? Distant birds like this probably go down as GSE more often than not.

Adult. No carpal crescents whatsoever on this bird.

Clear pale iris.

Same bird as above. A thickset bird with broad wings.


Perhaps a 3rd cy. Middle primaries too new for a 2nd cy but doesn't look clean enough for an older bird.

2nd cy. Three new inner primaries and the rest juvenile. All secondaries juvenile still.


Near adult

At least 3rd cy based on primary wear. Clear cut double comma.


Well marked uppertail and rump on this bird but didn't stay long enough to examine. Pretty much lacked a pale tail tip?

Slim winged adult type.

Another big (pres female) chunky individual with a strong bill and short looking tail. Double carpal crescent present and barring on immature secondaries came to feather tip. P4 short. Birds like this rarely linger long or near enough to be properly scrutinized.

2nd cy. Four new inner primaries and the rest juvenile. Also one new outermost secondary in right wing and a new central tail feather.

Near adult. Still patchy brown underparts and undertail.

Adult type

Adult type. Just one outer crescent.

Adult type with a fairly pale body.

2nd cy. Inner four primaries new and the odd secondary new.

Immature. This bird has more new secondaries compared to many 2nd cy (see above bird). The new inner primaries are almost up to p3 but it is hard to judge how worn the rest of the primaries are although they don't look as worn as most 2nd cy. The lower belly/undertail is not a clean pale so perhaps it is a 3rd cy.

A heat hazey high 2nd cy. Compare the slightly different outline to the above immature which has more new secondaries thus creating a bulkier wing.

Near adult. Faint barring still present in remiges, pale markings in greater coverts and some pale crescents to undertail.