A late afternoon dog-walk on Woodbury Common went a bit pear-shaped when I bumped in to this juvenile Pallid Harrier. I did the usual 'shake and panic' routine before securing this shot which seems to show everything. Mindful of hybrids, and having never seen Pallid Harrier before, I texted out the news that I thought I had Pallid Harrier, but I was massively relieved when Paul Gosling and Chris Townend showed up to reassure me I wasn't going mad! The bird showed several times around the heathland surrounding the grenade range on Colaton Raleigh Common, and was last seen around 1910 as it was starting to get a bit darker. It will obviously roost in the area and will hopefully be seen again tomorrow. Please stick to the footpaths and bridleways.
Note the dark boa, broad pale collar, pale area below the eye, plain orange underparts, broad arm and narrow hand (showing 4 primary 'fingers'), and dark secondaries contrasting with pale-edged inner primaries. The pale 'boomerang' is present at the base of the primaries. The bird looked buoyant and agile in flight, and was incredibly fast and low (almost kestrel-like), covering large areas of ground quickly. A really good tip for locating it is to look for the alarm-calling Meadow Pipit flocks which the bird was clearly hunting.