Identify unusual bird

Rosamund Coetzee, Plumstead

Today, Wednesday September 7, I noticed an unusual bird perched on the roof of the block of flats where I live. It was not one of our usual birds that we see in built-up areas. This piqued my interest, and I stood watching it for a while and then decided to fetch my binoculars for a clearer picture.

The bird was dark grey with no other markings visible. It had pale yellow legs with quite long talons. The beak was black and curved like a raptor’s and the cere was an orange/yellow colour which extended right up to and around the eyes. Quite striking.

Firstly, I thought it might have been an owl, but on carefully studying it, however, I discarded that thought. It must have spent 20 minutes sitting on the roof.

What I did notice was that another bird kept circling this “stranger” and swooping down towards it and then flying off. Eventually after three attempts to chase it, it flew off without success.

I would love to know what type of bird it is and just wonder if its natural habitat has been destroyed by all the felling of the pines in the forest and it found itself in a built-up area. Maybe a bird watcher can give me some idea what it is. Maybe a kestrel or a hawk?

Hopefully it will resettle in its natural environment.