Monday 30 May 2016


A few more images from my recent brief but special encounter with a Hobby down at Dunge.

Falco Subbuteo "The European Hobby"
Hobby Dungeness 29th May 2016  what a bird!
looking at me looking at you.....A Special moment

A remarkable encounter with the bird sitting on a shed whilst we pulled up along side in the car enjoying it for a few moments.

The Hobby summers in the UK with c2800 breeding pairs. It is an amazing bird to watch as it hawks for dragonflies etc over lakes and rivers.

The scientific name Falco Subbuteo derives from the Latin word for Sickle (falcis) which refers to the birds talons and Subbuteo again from the latin words sub meaning near to and buteo meaning Buzzard.

The word Subbuteo being better known as the  table football game taken from the name of the Hobby for the hobby if that makes sense.

Sunday 29 May 2016

It's a Great Hobby

Pun fully intended!

A drive down to Dunge this morning at stupid o'clock gave Jim and I the chance to dip the "red male" Rosefinch reported yesterday but as the handful of readers of this blog will know.....Dunge always delivers!

A great Hobby
A splendid Hobby sat up on a shed at the road side and allowed a close approach using the car as a hide rewarding me with some stunning images and my best views of Hobby ever as the bird sat warming itself in the early sun.

Black Redstart showed well on the fence of the power station and several Marsh Harrier hunted the fringes of ARC pit. Two Cuckoo were seen on the walk down to the hide but little else of note although a Glaucous Gull was reported at the patch a little after we left.

Our next stop was Worth Marsh where we found the young male Montagu's Harrier hunting along the railway lines until it was pushed on by the local corvids. Again Cuckoo was seen here and a fly over Turtle Dove made it a decent stop off before our final destination delivered good views of a pair of Spotted Flycatcher which like Turtle Dove seem harder and harder to find as the years go by.

Spotted Flycatcher in Kent
A good day out with Jim and a couple of year ticks added for my trouble too but the big highlight was the stunning Hobby down at Dunge.

Year list now 242

A few more images from the last couple of days.

Coot at Connaught Waters
Fox in my garden
Marsh Harrier at Elmley
Mandarin at Connaught Waters
Hare hiding in the grass at Elmley

Thursday 26 May 2016

bit more Elmley

You got to love a Squirrel
Watching you watching me.
Little Grebe
Yellow Wagtail
Ring-necked Parakeet

Sunday 22 May 2016

Oare and Elmley

An early morning trip down to Oare marsh in Kent rewarded me with a drake Garganey, Marsh Harriers, Cuckoo and Bearded Tits to name a few.

Avocets at Oare Marsh
Garganey at Oare Marsh
Bearded Tits doing well at Oare
Moving on to Elmley I found more Marsh Harriers and a Short-eared Owl along with plenty of Yellow Wagtails, Redshank and Lapwing as you'd expect at this time of year. Plenty of Brown Hare on the reserve and Skylarks were singing well too to make an enjoyable morning before the old fella rang to see if I'd pick him up from the hospital. He had a new knee fitted on Thursday and is now back at home after only three days which is quite amazing in my book. I don't suppose it'll be long before he's out birding again.

Yellow Wagtail at Elmley
Yellow Wag!
Redshank chicks
Redshank with chicks at Elmley
Marsh Harrier hunting at Elmley
Marsh Harrier resting between raids on the waders
Brown Hare at Elmley
The old man's new knee!
No year ticks added today but a decent bit of birding all the same.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Great Reed Warbler at Paxton

A 60 mile drive after work this evening delivered another lifer in the form of the Great Reed Warbler at Paxton. The bird could be heard calling above the Nightingales on arrival and was quickly found sitting up in the distant reed bed. The song was loud and distinctive and the sight of the huge warbler was impressive as it climbed the reeds singing it's heart out virtually non stop.

Great Reed Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
On the way back to the car we picked up a Turtle Dove over the car park to add another year tick.

The trip is well worth it as this is a very noisy and showy bird giving fantastic scope views although a little distant for the camera but I grabbed a couple of record shots.

Year list now 240
Life list now 374

Great Reed Warbler
Singing his heart out

Sunday 15 May 2016

Great spotted Cuckoo Portland

I picked up Jim this morning and we headed down to Dorset in darkness covering the 168 miles without drama and arriving on site at around 6.45am to find six other birders had arrived already. I walked up the road to the allotments checking all the bushes without joy before returning to the area that the bird had been seen in yesterday. After a while news arrived that two birders had located the bird at the top of the road just after the allotment so we headed up with a group now numbering around fifteen and quickly found the target with a nesting Blackbird helping our quest as it showed it's displeasure at the Cuckoo sitting in the bush. Eventually the Cuckoo gave in and flew back to the bottom of the hill to feed on the caterpillars again and it was here we sat and enjoyed it for an hour or so keeping a decent distance we managed to get plenty of new arriving birders on target before the bird flew off high towards the observatory where it was reported for the rest of the day.

One of the best birds on my slow growing life list and one I've wanted to see for a few years now so I'm well pleased we took the gamble and made the effort this morning.

Year list now 238
Life list now 373

Great-spotted Cuckoo at Portland
Great spotted Cuckoo
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Showing well!
Great Spot!

Saturday 14 May 2016

Red-footed Falcon at Vange Marsh

A quick trip to Abberton today so the Jim's could connect with the Essex Franklin's Gull where we added Arctic and Black Tern to the year lists before making the short drive down to Vange Marsh where we very quickly got on both Red-footed Falcon and a pair of Black-winged Stilts.

Year list now 237
Life list now 372

Red-footed Falcon

Female Red-footed Falcon
Black-winged Stilts
Black Terns
Black-winged Stilts at Vange Marsh