Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Hobby highlight

HOCKHAM FOREST and FEN
A walk to Hockham Fen along forest trails produced a minimum of 7 singing Willow Warblers mostly in young Pine blocks and Birch scrub habitat.  Also noted was at least 3 singing Garden Warblers, 1 Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, and a number of Blackcaps.
Hobby - a superb master of flight (Paul Newport)
The highlight of this morning goes to 4+ Hobbies hunting for winged insects above Hockham Fen and Cranberry Rough. These beautiful Falcons, superb masters of flight, excelled in their ability to hunt and catch flying insects and occasionally, I could see on Hobby pass an item of food from the talons to the bill.  Most views of todays Hobbies saw the birds against the sky in silhouette form, however, close inspection of single birds revealed their white 'faces' and black moustachial stripes, their blue-grey upperparts, streaked underparts, and on one occasion when seen against a dark background, the reddish ventral area.
A single Hobby was watched on occasions hunting above Hockham Fen, however, most of the hunting was undertaken above the canopy of Cranberry Rough where back and forth sweeps for insect prey was seen.
I always marvel at the sight of a Hobby in flight, these Falcons are superbly designed for speed and can chase and outfly Hirundine species (Swallows), Swifts, and even insects.  Large gatherings of Hobbies can be witnessed over Breckland meres in late summer when they are attracted to the wealth of bird and dragonfly species upon which they feed.

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