Thursday, 1 September 2011

It's Nice to Have Two Hobbies

Dan here.

The smaller birds of the estuary had even more to torment them today, because aswell as peregrines and sparrowhawks, they also had hobby to worry about.

One juvenile hobby appeared in a clamour of swallows in the railway cutting area of the patch, and was seen well as it took several shallow stoops at various species over the water's edge. It pursued some starlings with all the dogged tenacity of a merlin. Nice bird.

As I followed it Southwards in my scope I became aware of a second, identically-sized falcon which joined it over the Stodday stretch and seemed to be hunting in tandem with it.

I couldn't get any detail as it flew into the midday glare but I took it to be another subbuteo.

At least one headed as far down as Conder Green.

Second best today was seen seconds before all this, with a large-looking (male?) juvenile ruff standing on the last sliver of Gull Bank with lapwings and a few dunlins before high water engulfed it.

The Spring tide covered the East-bank marshes once more, and a greenshank, common sandpiper and a skylark were seen feeding at the foot of Dawson's Bund, while an attractive 1st-Winter Med gull flew inland above it.

The morning's birding was less exciting, but casually-noted visible migration of c.20 each of Southbound meadow pipits and swallows (with a few sand martins) passed through mid-morning, and three hedgerow goldcrests and a flock of 25 linnets were of note. All very Septemberish.

A great crested grebe rode the surging tide up to the pylons, where I took this perfunctory shot.


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