What a wonderful Hobby is birdwatching

Contrary to the rumours I am not living in a tent at Goldcliff Lagoons ;) I must admit though I have become rather obsessed with this wonderful Nature Reserve. It just does not stop giving. The wealth of bird species is amazing and I never leave the place feeling disappointed. I guess being out in the wilds at the reserve watching and photographing nature is my weekly stress relief.

This mornings visit to Goldcliff was superb. It was very busy on the bird front. Big flocks of Common Ringed Plovers and Dunlins at Lagoon 1. Closer observation revealed a Curlew Sandpiper, Golden Plover and a Red Knot. Three Greenshank were present at Lagoon 1 for much of the morning and early on there were two juvenile Ruff. A nice flock of Lapwings were gathered close to the aptly named "Lapwing" platform and put on some great flight displays all morning.

The duck species are growing in numbers with Mallards, Teal, Shoveller and Wigeon on site.

Two Mute Swans have also been paddling around in the reen on the reserve. Plenty of Wagtails remain - Pied, White and Yellow Wagtails. There were a couple of waves of Swallows, House and Sand Martins that flew in cross the lagoons snapping insects out of the air. There was a big flock of Goldfinches feeding on the thistles.

All this bird activity at the lagoons must have come to the attention of the local raptors.

Early on the noisy buzzard, nicknamed "Bosprey" appeared. Its white plumage making it very distinctive. It scared the birds on the lagoons a little but did not hang about. A Sparrowhawk flew in and caused some havoc. A Red Kite soared above the reserve but did not seem to scare a single bird!

A Kestrel swooped in and caused the waders to panic and reach for the skies but it did not dally long either.

Then, about an hour later whilst I stood on the Redshank platform with some fellow birders all the waders exploded up into the air.

Something had really alarmed them. I must admit I like the flock pictures so I was concentrating on taking pictures of the flocks when one of the birders cried "Theres a Hobby".

I looked up and it flew right over the platform like a mini fighter jet. It was fast. I caught a view of the back end of it and I was a little miffed that I had failed to get a picture but elated to have seen my first ever Hobby.  We watched it arc around the reserve and then it dropped out of sight.

Not long after we picked it up again. It shot across the sea wall near the seawall hide and sped low across the back of lagoon 3 before hurtling at hell of a speed towards the frantically flocking lagoon 1 residents which all hit big panic button.

 I managed to get a couple of pictures from distance as it did the bird equivalent of putting  full after burners on. Wow it was brilliant to watch.

I am chuffed to get my first picture of a Hobby and watching it just about summed up what a great "hobby" bird watching is.

Hobby scything through the lagoons scaring flock of Dunlins and Common Ringed Plovers

Dunlins and Common Ringed Plovers


Golden Plover in amongst the Dunliins, CRP and a Curlew.

Common Ringed Plovers and Dunlins


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