Saturday, 13 October 2012

Last Hobby of the Year

An early Autumn visit to Rye Meads proved to be a relatively quiet day. The water level in front of the Draper Hide was high, covering all the wide expanses of mud, so no feeding waders and just a few Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard and Tufted Duck. However, the scene from the hide was still full of vibrant colours due to the abundance of the yellow Buttonweed growing all over the islands. Amazingly, when I checked on the status of Buttonweed in the Flora of Hertfordshire, published just three years ago, I found that it was not in there........because it is a new species for Hertfordshire!! It is most likely that it has been brought in on birds feet.

A scan of the islands did in fact reveal the presence of some Common Snipe, all asleep unless they were disturbed by a passing duck.

Suddenly, a raptor appeared over the trees at the back of the reed bed. Clearly a sharp-winged falcon and at it came closer, scything its way through the air, it was possible to see the tell-tale white throat and collar of a Hobby. Hobbys are summer visitors to the UK and this fairly late individual was taking the opportunity to feed up on the still fairly numerous Migrant Hawker and Common Darter dragonflies present at Rye Meads at the current time. Probably the last one we will see this year.

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