A 1st summer male Red-footed Falcon was discovered at a colliery site near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, around early July, and whilst I was on holiday in Bulgaria. A major rarity for Staffordshire, as it had been many years since one of these small falcons had been seen in the county. The Red-footed Falcon proved to be very confiding but reading a variety of comments on social media, things soon got out of hand, as they often seem to do these days, when people began to feed it with insects apparently obtained from local pet shops!! What!! beyond me, why, as there is plenty of natural food about at this time of year. I eventually caught up with the bird on Saturday morning 25th July 2015. My first real opportunity and thankfully it was still around and showing well, feeding naturally on grasshoppers, worms and beetles. A stunning little falcon that breeds in Eastern Europe, into Russia and beyond. They often turn-up during late spring but it is unusual for one to hang around for such a long time. Probably due to the fact that it is a young bird and is in moult, at times not looking all together 100%. The contrasting brown primaries and barring on the wing coverts and secondaries, also barring on the outer-tail feathers all indicate a first summer bird. Also nearby a Black Redstart. So the year list kick starts again, after a 10 day Butterfly trip in Bulgaria (soon to be posted), moving on to 212 (Puffin recorded earlier in the month).
Red-footed Falcon – 1st summer male – ~Chatterley Whitfield, near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs – Tony Davison©