Wednesday, 1 June 2016

An Early Summer Visit to Hobby City

20th May 2016

And of course Hobby City is RSPB Lakenheath Fen where at this time of year the numbers of Hobbys builds up to as high as 80 in some years. All boded well for a good day as I had only walked out of the visitor centre on to the veranda by the pond when a Willow Warbler was singing right outside in full view and in the sun. What a great start!!

On the trail to the New Fen viewpoint all the usual suspects were present including Goldfinches and Reed Buntings. Hairy Dragonflies were also on the wing and I suspect that this female was quite freshly emerged as she was still holding her wings along her abdomen.

Further up the trail a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were busy feeding their young in the nest, which in this case was in a broken off Poplar. The male is the one with the red spot on the nape.

Half way to the Joist Fen viewpoint was a Grasshopper Warbler which was reputed to be very close to the path and showing very well. Of course when I was there, despite singing obviously very close to the path and "showing well", it was always hiding by about ten Phragmites stems which made photography rather difficult. It even hopped up to the top of a stem a couple of times, but only for a split second. Sadly this was the best shot I could do, so that will have to wait for another day.

But now to the business in hand. In my opinion, the trail to the south of New Fen is by far the best place to photograph Hobbys at Lakenheath. It was three years ago almost to the day that I photographed the famous male Red-footed Falcon which performed here for many days.

Basically, the Hobbys hunt over New Fen but, depending on the wind direction, sometimes fly quite close to the track providing some great opportunities.

Every now and then they need a rest and fly up to the Poplars to the south of the track and are normally quite approachable

Then, when the spot a dragonfly they drop out of the trees and head off in pursuit. What a fantastic way to spend the day, me that is, not the Hobbys.

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