Marsh Harrier – 1894

Circus aeruginosus

Formerly a common resident, but now only a rare accidental visitor.

When we were shooting Snipe near Stone Hall, in the winter of 1880, a fine old male Marsh Harrier flew within a few feet of us, and we might easily have shot it. Sir Hugh Owen has informed us of one shot some years ago on Jordanston Moor, not far from Fishguard, and of another that he saw hovering over the legions of wild fowl on the decoy at Orielton. There is one in the plumage of the first year in Lord Cawdor’s collection that was shot near Stackpole Court.

Writing about the birds to be found in the neighbourhood of Laugharne, the Rev. C. M. Phelps says : “People speak of a bird they call the ‘Duck Hawk.’ He is represented as a big fellow, and given to attack the various kinds of sea and freshwater Duck that come sailing up the Laugharne river with the flowing tide. One sunny morning, some four years ago, I, myself, saw some such Hawk of considerable size on a sandbank near the mouth of the Tave. He flew across the estuary to the Warley Point before I could make him out. What can this ‘Duck Hawk’ be ?” To this question of Mr. Phelps we are able to reply that the “Duck Hawk” is one of the old names of the Marsh Harrier, the bird being very fond of attacking and feeding upon wild fowl, and the bird frequenting the Laugharne river may, with all probability, be referred to this species.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Marsh Harrier in Pembrokeshire