|Dotty dog Dotty and my wife Carole at Manea bird hides.|
My wife and I decided to take little dotty dog Dotty to the bird hides at Manea today. It was a clear blue day and rather warm. We filled our flask full of coffee and grabbed some nibbles before setting off.
Upon arrival at the River Bedford and the River Delph, which both run parallel to each other, we let Dotty out of the car so she could run her excitement off. Once she had got the pent up energy out of her system we set off across the bridge by the lock gate and walked along the dyke and bridle path that separates the two rivers.
I had my camera and was listening to the various bird song along the way. The rivers reeds were alive with Willow Warblers and Reed Buntings. I was, of course, clicking away with my camera. We walked for a long time surveying all about us.
I saw a Common Buzzard circling over the farmland and tried to get a few shots until RAF Tornados flew over. We passed the first two bird hides and went into the third one and set up our things. We looked out across the Fens once again. The last time we came here with my son Paul, the whole Fen was a giant lake as the River Delph bursts her banks in winter and floods the surrounding pastures.
Now the lake was receded and the fields were back in view. The entire Fen was a lush green where the lake had recently been. The first thing we noticed was a hunting Marsh Harrier gliding low and searching the grassland for the nests of the water birds. The raptor must have found the nest of some Lapwings as these water fowl were constantly try to swoop close and harass the bird of prey. I think it was a desperate effort to protect their nest. The contest went on for some time. The Lapwings would see the Marsh Harrier off, but the big bird would slowly circle the fen and come back low from another direction. I was clicking away with my Nikon D3100 trying to get the best shots possible but it was at some distance.
Carole and I spent an enjoyable couple of hour’s bird watching before deciding to make our way back to the car. That was still another half hour walk for Dotty to stretch her legs a little more.
On the way back we saw a kestrel in the distance and then another come close to it. This other particular bird seemed to be a kestrel too at distance but it did not hover. Instead it was twisting and turning and had a different flight signature altogether. Carol thought it might be a Merlin, but these birds of prey like wooded areas. Then as it got closer we noticed it had a black head. At first, I thought it might be a Peregrine Falcon but it looked too small. Then I realised it might be a Hobby. I managed to get a few great shots of the little raptor as it swooped and twisted in the summer sky. What a smashing little creature it was. Once back home, Carole looked up the Hobby in our British bird’s book and it had all the marks of such. Evidently, the Hobby is a spring and summer visitor each year.
|Then a couple of RAF Tornados put in an appearance.|
|The once flooded fen was now fields again and the Marsh Harrier was Hunting but the Lapwings were not happy and wanted to protect their nest. They harassed the raptor swooping close in and out to put the bird of prey off.|
|Every time the Marsh Harrier left, it would just circle and come back low. The Lapwings were waiting.|
|The air contest lasted for some time.|
|The Lapwings would not give up the defence of their nest|
On the way back, we saw the Hobby swooping, twisting and diving with great ability. At first, I thought it was a Merlin or Peregrine Falcon. However, it was about the size of a kestrel.
|Hobby over the Fen|