Sunday, 24 August 2008

Beddington- Hobby

Juvenile Wood Sandpiper on the enclosed lagoon (looks like India with all that rubbish)- reacting to a hunting Hobby-crouching and avoiding taking flight.
2nd cy autumn Hobby, hunting waders over the enclosed lagoons.

A juvenile Ringed Plover being chased by a Hobby. By making a low rapid sweep over the lagoon, this predator is attempting to spook something into the air and then swiftly sieze it in flight from below. If the strike it not immediate, the chase climbs to high altitude, with the Ringed Plover attempting to stay above the Hobby. Several unsuccessful mid air rapid drives by the Hobby, countered by rapid micro changes in direction from the Ringed Plover led to the Hobby giving up. The characteristic two white spots on the side of the upper neck are clearly seen here, a feature of all plumages.
The yellow orbital skin is a feature of an older bird- it is bluish or greenish yellow in juveniles. The contrast in mantle and upperparts colours compared to the remiges, with the abraded remiges and orange trousers suggests this bird is neither a juvenile or an adult. These features combined with the tail pattern ages this bird as 2nd calender year autumn. The distinct bars and pale tip (visible in upper photo) are a feature of juvenile feathers- an adult would have less distinct bars with no pale tail tip.

Hobby migration is a bit of a mystery. Birds are numerous in the savanas of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana and Mozambique during November to March but records are not common in West Africa. There is a lack of concentrations over migration bottlenecks so presumably Hobbies migrate on a broad front at considerable height.
The Hobby is one of 149 taxa, 61 species and 10 genera in the family Falconidae- which is divided into the Polyborinae and Falconinae subfamily. Hobby belongs to the genus Falco in the latter sub-family and there are four Hobby species in the world- Eurasian Hobby, African Hobby, Oriental Hobby and Australasian Hobby. South and Central American counterparts include the Bat Falcon and Orange-breasted Falcon.
1 juvenile Knot still present, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 juvenile Wood Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 4 Green Sandpiper, 31 Shoveler, 15 Teal, 1 2nd cy Hobby, 15 Pied Wagtail, 40 House Martin, 1 1st winter Wheatear, 25 Little Grebe, 1 Great-crested Grebe

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