A break in the rain this afternoon encouraged me out to an area of rough grassland and reeds on Walland Marsh that I frequently watch for raptors. For once, after the rains, the site really lived up to its name. Squelching along the muddy track the first bird spotted was a kestrel, and then a number of marsh harriers. I counted a maximum of 6 birds at any one time, but they were moving backwards and forwards between two distant sites so it was difficult to say how many birds were present in total. One of these, a female, was intent on agressively mobbing a barn owl. In the end the two birds dropped behind some reeds and I assumed the worst. I have been told from several sources that a few weeks ago a local wildfowler reported a marsh harrier taking a barn owl at this site. This was not the fate for my bird however, it reappeared about 15 minutes later and continued hunting unmolested. One of the marsh harriers was now being chased itself by a couple of crows.
Highlight of the afternoon was a beautiful male hen harrier that glided over the reedbed in front of me for five minutes before dropping down to roost for the night.