Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Not another post about Jersey..Marsh Harriers

Marsh Harrier, St.Ouens Bay
I promise I don't work for the Jersey Tourist board..not yet anyway :) When I first went to Jersey these birds surprised me. I approached St.Ouens Bay down a really, really narrow road/lane Mont Matthieu (I think that's how it's spelt) and at windscreen height this male Marsh Harrier glided over the road with a juvenile pheasant in it's talons...can't/won't repeat the expletives that came out of my mouth. Not only was I not expecting this species to be present on the island and if I had known I didn't expect such a close encounter, luckily, as with most of the roads on the island, it was so narrow it's not safe to travel fast (plus a maximum speed limit of 40 mph on the island). But the biggest surprise was the attitude of the farmers towards the bird, I was expecting it to be hated and loathed due to the fact I was watching numerous snatches of juvenile pheasants, typically in the UK this leads to such raptors being loathed/shot/poisoned etc. But  the pheasants are loathed by most of the people I spook too as the pheasants would eat the valuable potatoe crop, So any form of "pest" (hate that word) control was welcomed. I was chatting to one such farmer who waxed lyrical of the Marsh Harrier and let me walk along his field to get some images, nice man.
One of the best places on the island I watched these birds and others was from the carpark at the Val de La Mare resevoir. You sit on top of a big hill with the airport behind you and looking down onto St.Ouens bay, at one time I was watching four harriers gliding around below me with great views looking out to sea, the resevoir wasn't a bad walk either to be honest. As for photographing the birds the best I found was the potatoe fields situated behind St.Ouens pond. The harriers would often fly off the nature reserve into the fields to catch the Pheasants. If you're lucky you get flght shots of Pheasants too.


  1. Stunning birds Doug, you did them justice with some excellent images.

  2. Cheers mate. I thought Minsmere was good for Marsh Harriers, but these offerd some great views