16 May 2018

Hobbies from the garden!

Last year we were lucky enough to have a pair of Hobbies spend some time in trees behind the house.  Initially there was only one and I picked it up firstly on call. Closer scrutiny showed there were two birds and for a week or so they showed almost daily then went quiet............

This year I hoped they'd return and sure enough I picked up a familiar call on Bank Holiday Monday. A bird was calling from the top of a large oak tree but couldn't be seen. As  I watched a second bird flew in carrying prey but I couldn't see what it was.After watching for awhile the 2nd bird flew in again and both birds displayed before drifting off high together.

With sunny weather Saturday I spent most of the time in the garden with one ear and an eye listening and watching for the Hobbies. Sure enough that keening call started but I still couldn't see the bird. I assumed it was the male calling proclaiming his territory and trying to attract his mate. When a 2nd bird did arrive they both put on a bit of an aerial display before disappearing.

An hour or so later and the keening started again. This time the bird was sat in a dead oak in full view albeit about 300 m away and I managed to get some distant shots and video.

Assuming this was the male bird imagine my surprise when a 2nd bird appeared and mated with the 1st bird!

The first bird was obviously a female and she'd been calling to her mate. I stayed watching for over an hour as both birds then rested on the dead tree before flying off together.

Both birds below - the female is top right and the male bottom left of tree.

A fantastic experience and a privilege to see these birds from our garden.

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