A Harrier on the hill

I see a tiny speck of a bird circling  over a ruined building in Tarquinia:

Montagu's Harrier - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)


We drive the car in its direction and the call comes from our friend Paolo, “Albanella”. I look it up. I think that means it’s a Harrier.

Montagu's Harrier - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)


It’s distant but it’s unmistakable. It’s an Albanella minore, a Montagu’s Harrier, Circus pygargus


It’s a grey male. It’s following the same route over and over, following the ridge of the hill, alive to every change in wind, searching the ground and controlling its flight with lazy sweeps of its powerful paddle-like wings.


The environment here in Italy is wonderful:

Montagu's Harrier - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)


There are fewer than five pairs in the UK.

We see it dive down and catch something. I’m not sure if it’s  just a piece of grass or a lizard.


We drive on. Paolo points out that there is a specially reserved piece of land where they breed and where the farmers and locals don’t disturb them:

Montagu's Harrier - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)


And then the female flies past us:

Montagu's Harrier - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)
Montagu's Harrier - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)
Montagu's Harrier - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)


There are no words.

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