Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Cyclists and Hobby Day at RSPB Langford Lowfields

I cycled out to Langford yesterday, arriving through thick clouds of common darters. It seemed other cyclists had the same idea for a fair weather jaunt, one was parked up as I arrived, and another turned up and did a circuit of the reed bed later on. Plenty of other folk out on the Sustrans 64 too, taking in a fine day at various speeds.

There was a couple of egrets on view, lots of tufted duck, and a pair of great crested grebes with a chick with an attractively cute stripy face - very late in the year for raising young.

There was a fellow there doing an all dayer with his 60x60 spotter, and I enjoyed the pleasure of his informative company as he called out the birds on the islands in the reed bed that I had no chance of seeing with my feeble 10x50s... "Sedge warbler...willow warbler..."

Compared to the 'proper' birdwatchers, I'm a rather poor specimen.

Having wandered off for a look at Phase 2, and admired as always the prehistoric sigh of a heron in stately flight, I went back to the hut and together we watched a very busy hobby in action hawking the still numerous darters and migrant hawkers out of the sky. The hobby is a beautifully narrow winged falcon, with a powerful yet delicate flight that somehow reminded me of the pulsations of a swimming jellyfish. At one point it startled a trio of seagulls, which shrieked in alarm before sending one of their number off to try and mob it out of the sky.

Such a swift bird, the hobby. Look away, and its gone. Then it will appear again at high speed, out of a completely different part of the sky.

No hovering like a kestrel. The hobby is always on the move.

Phase 2 reedbed

The back of Phase 1

Looking back towards the beach hut

Knapweed, I think

Male common darter on the path

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