A pair of hobbies (Falco subbuteo) took up residence in an abandoned rook’s nest at “The Lodge” RSPB reserve some time ago. They hatched three chicks which are thriving and providing hours of entertainment for birdwatchers and staff at the reserve.
It’s probably another week before they fledge. Their diet seems to consist of mainly dragonflies from the moorish land around their lonesome pine although one photographer (Colin Severs) I met had footage of an adult tearing apart a swallow (Hirundo rustica) on a branch near the nest to make bite-sized nuggets for the offspring.
These birds are spectacular enough to have made it worth the trip to the reserve but there were also several buzzards (Buteo buteo) around including at least one juvenile, green woodpeckers (Picus viridis), common whitethroats (Sylvia communis), the family of bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) purportedly also nesting near the hobbies remained elusive.
Also remaining hidden were the nuthatches (Sitta europaea) and treecreepers (Certhia familiaris). Apparently, a pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) that had been showing well was predated last, perhaps by a jay (Garrulus glandarius). I’ve only ever seen one of these birds, dead on a footpath, many years years ago. Attending the birdfeeders around the site were blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla), dunnocks (Prunella modularis), chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs), blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) with young and great tits (Parus major), and a solitary robin (Erithacus rubecula) and a lone magpie (Pica pica).
Listen to the hobby: