After a good forecast today and an organised meet up with both Tim and Neil,the raptor viewpoint in the fantastic Wykeham Forest,was my destination for the day.
After a nice steady drive up through the Wolds,i eventually made it up through North Moor and to the raptor viewpoint car park.
It looked like there had been a substantial down pour overnight and as i got me gear on Neil arrived.
Neil had travelled specially to finally add Honey Buzzard to his life list,so the pressure was on a bit to try and find one for him today.
We made our way down the track,arriving at that fantastic vista infront of the viewpoint....are there any better raptor watchpoints in the country?.
It wasn't long before Tim arrived and then we all settled down and began to scan the forest and valley below.
First raptors seen included a couple of Common Buzzard and then a male Kestrel and a flyover group of 4 Common Crossbill added some interest also.
While scanning the opposite side of the valley we picked up on an interesting raptor coming in from the east and sure enough this was a Honey....at last!.
We watched as it flew steadily along the forest edge and a resident pair of Common's flew up to see him off,followed by a Goshawk,both the latter species obviously wondering what this stranger was doing back in their territories for the summer.
The views were quite distant,but you could see what this bird was with it's distinct long tailed profile and languid Kite like flight,what a great bird.We then lost him behind the trees and we carried on watching for any other birds of interest.
A very welcome sighting of two Red Kite,passed below the viewpoint,with us losing the birds behind the trees.These were only my second sighting of the species here and both birds looked to be immatures,with pretty scruffy plumage,but great to see all the same.Another very welcome sighting picked up by Tim was a cracking Raven watched making its way east along the valley,this being the first one i have seen from the viewpoint and also the first i have seen in this part of Yorkshire.
A brief displaying male Goshawk on the opposite side of the valley was another welcome sighting and the cracking Honey put in at least four more appearances before finally drifting west past the viewpoint and that was the last sighting for us of this bird.
The bird did look like a pale male and after talking to local Honey expert John Harwood,he thinks this male is a returning bird which has been coming back here for the past ten years,that's an incredible feat for one bird travelling backwards and forwards to the wintering grounds in Africa.
Eventually after enjoying a great mornings watching,Tim,Neil and myself went our separate ways and i look forward to my next visit to this special area for birds of prey.