A late afternoon visit revealed a rather unexpected Aldcliffe first in the shape of an adult hobby.
The bird came over me from the direction of the marsh and went into Freeman's Wood where it was rapidly met by a rather agitated local kestrel. The pair engaged in a spectacular dog-fight over the wood and adjacent (Frog Pond) field for around 5 minutes. The hobby then flew back up the edge of the wood toward me and shot up over Freeman's Pools much to the alarm of the feeding house martins and swifts. After a total of around 12-15 minutes it disappeared over the pools and despite some thorough searching I failed to relocate it. Meanwhile Dan H arrived (I had, of course, called him about this fab patch tick) and while I went off to see if I could determine whether it had perched up somewhere around the pools he stayed put in case it reappeared which, much to his delight, it did.
Dan had it come out of the wood again in the area where it had battled with the kestrel but by the time I returned it had vanished and despite my hanging around for another hour or so I didn't see it again.
Other news: the juv LRP on the island was trying its wings out in front of an attentive mum & dad and was making short flights. Other (or just a mobile one of the above?) adult LRPs were on the Wildfowlers' Pools and Frog Pond.
Approx. 100 swift were feeding over the marsh and starling numbers are really building up there with the main feeding flock containing around 200 birds (though sadly nothing pink & black amongst them...)