The Lammergeier, Thorney, Cambs, 10 October 2020

Until now I'd resisted the temptation to go for the long-staying wandering Lammergeier. Probably due to the combination of erratic sightings, long drives, the question over its origins and the fact I've seen plenty abroad. 

But with the bird seemingly settled a bit in fields north of Thorney on the A47 and having been seen until late the yesterday evening in a roadside tree I cracked and went early this morning! And in the end I was mighty glad I made the effort. With the sun still rising the bird was present in said tree on arrival as it must have roosted there. It showed very nicely, preening occasionally for about 30 minutes before deciding to fly over the field away from us only to land in the middle of the road! After grabbing a piece of roadkill and holding the traffic up for a few minutes it retired to the field to have its breakfast. After walking along the road for closer views the sun came out giving some lovely viewing and photographic conditions as the bird fed completely unconcerned by its admirers. 

It appears to be a 1w bird now looking rather paler than when it arrived and was in more juvenile plumage. It has also now replaced its remiges so has a complete wedge-shaped tail. There has been much discussion about its origins. Has it come from the Alps re-introduction scheme? If so, is that population now self-supporting. I have heard both yes and no as the answers to that one! It is certainly not unusual for young Lammergeiers to go wandering long distances into northern Europe and concerns about it being able to find enough food seem unfounded because it has survived OK since it arrived in June. Luckily the Vulture Conservation Foundation who run the Alps re-introduction scheme have two feathers collected from 'our' bird and are running analysis on them to determine its origin/parentage. We shall see...

On the way home a brief stop at Wighton revealed the Hoopoe there has departed overnight so I compensated with a stop in Attlebridge where a lovely big patch of Fluted Birds Nest fungi found by Matt Shore was easily found.

                                                                                                                                  Lammergeier twitch
                                                                                                                        Fluted Birds Nest fungi

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