Harriers and non Hobbies

I was greeted at Ham Wall much as James had left it the other day. Trikes, kids, unconcerned parents and dogs. But hey everybody got to enjoy themselves somewhere and even if 90% couldnt care less if just one of those kids in later life remembers the day and takes up the study of the wonder that is nature it may have been worth it.

But on to the day. The sun was showing a promise of things to come. This is one of those special times in the year when you begin to remember what summer is while the cold and wet of the winter is still fresh in your mind. In a few months we will have forgot the chill and the sun will be the norm. Short sleeves and leaving your coat at home is the every day. Funny how we have such short memories. We acclimatise ourselves so readily and other climes become forgotten until the shift begins again and the seasons sway our minds to warm coats and dry boots.

I wandered over to Shapwick and was pleasantly surprised to see the Scrape had reduced in level revealing the little islands that the waders have been waiting for. Plenty of Black Tailed Godwits and a solitary Little Egret walking casually across the shallows reminding me of Jesus.
Now one thing I always enjoy when amongst fellow birders diligently looking in the allotted direction from a platform is to just turn around and look in completely the opposite direction. You can often see some interesting things. This is how I discovered one of my favourite views. Opposite the scrape between the trees by the middle bench you get a great view of a large uninterrupted reed bed. A good spot for Marsh Harriers. Over the years Ive noticed a single female flying her territory. Today it was a resplendent male and an elusive occasional and somewhat grumpy female. Possibly my one from other years with perhaps a son, lover or enemy. I spent quit some time watching the male in particular fly back and forth. This is when I thought it was a good opportunity to get my camera out and try the video again. This is the result of about one and a half hours of watching and recording. I could edit it more but I will let you see as much as you want or as little. Its eight minutes long so I dont expect you to watch it all but there are exciting bits scattered through it! Shot at full x50 voom.

As I practised I became more at ease following him. Less jaltay, calmer, getting a feel for what he would do next. Interesting process, I assume this is what the professionals do. Spend some time getting to know your subject then finally getting a smooth, flowing and almost predictable shot. It was a very enjoyable time. I could get used to this!

HOBBY!!!!! No, sorry it wasn't. A couple came by me and commented about five sightings of a Hobby. About ten minutes before I had been watching a raptor above the scrape. One thing that struck me was the protruding of its talons in flight. A very characteristically Hobby thing to do. I immediately cried HOBBY in my head then reality came home and told me not to be silly. It was far too big and very Buzzard like. No red underside. All wrong. If you watch the video you will see that a Marsh Harrier will let its legs dangle beneath on occasion. I think it was a Female Marsh Harrier and everyone was getting far too excited. This does happen from time to time. People go into a feeding frenzy. Like they did with the Penduline Tit a few weeks ago.

Give it a few more weeks and it will be as if Hobbies had always been here.

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