Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Jacking in the Hobby

This morning we explored the south side of the reserve, but didn't see anything exceptional for a while. However, in one hide Liz was looking through her telescope when she spotted what she thought was a Snipe, but it was bobbing up & down! This immediately rang the required bells, and sure enough after checking carefully the diminutive bird in view I was able to confirm its short bill, bobbing action, & vivid yellow stripe all along its back added up to a Jack Snipe. Apparently, we were the first to see & confirm it's ID. later that morning others looked for it without success, but eventually other telescope users in the afternoon managed to confirm our sighting - phew! The only other wading bird of interest was a very short-staying Black-tailed Godwit, which landed briefly on a nearby marsh before flying off in a Westerly direction. The afternoon brought some fly-over Curlews in the same area.

At lunch time I encountered some former class members & they reported good views of both Kingfisher & Hobby at a different part of the reserve, so the afternoon group initially went in the opposite direction to the am session. The Kingfisher was present for a few minutes - really just until all the session managed to see it before it disappeared. We then had a long wait, and I was about to give up when the Hobby appeared along the tree line on our left. It then performed some fantastic aerial fly-overs on several occasions, when it was observed munching on dragonflies. It was so quick not everyone managed to pick out its orange trousers, but most people saw its white cheek contrasting sharply with its black moustachial stripe. It really put on a fantastic performance, so the group didn't mind giving way to the reserve warden who was showing the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's Martin Batt & 3 clients from France round the reserve - hope they got to see it too! This was the best ever view of a Hobby seen by the Tues pm session!

The pm group made the long journey to try & see the Jack Snipe too. This was very difficult for some because of the high winds, a shaky shelf for telescopes, and a very cryptically coloured bird, but we remained until everyone confirmed they'd managed to observe it bobbing up & down like a little pnuematic toy. Although it was a lot cooler than recent days, the birds put on a great display & everyone went home satisfied!
Jack Snipe - seen much closer on an earlier occasion (c) 2011 Vince Cowell
Chiffchaff in the garden before setting off today

No comments: