Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Thorne: birds birds birds

Walk quietly and you will be surprised at what is there. I'd heard Thorne and Hatfield Moors mentioned in birding circles for its birdlife and decided to head out there one evening in May (also see posts here and here). You approach along an old road past a field of solar panels, into scrubland laced with the the thick tang of the Mayflower blossom, and on to the moor edge itself. Once there you slip into birch groves, the air thick with the song of turtle doves. Non-stop cuckoo, reed warbler, chiffchaff, and reed bunting sing from behind you, to your left, right and ahead and above you are swifts, dashing falcons and buzzards.

Peer though thick reeds out along ditches and channels and there'll be something to see: today's show is a smart lone drake teal bathing. Water rail are in there too, somewhere, calling loudly from the depths of thick cover. The funny crinkly black stuff is part of the water-management of the moor.


Pad most quietly to the clearings and scan carefully. This time there is something very special to see, there, motionless in an old sun-bleached birch. Look though the bins, WOWSER, this is not any bird, it is the best bird of all, a hobby, right there in front, not 100 yards off. Their eyesight is superb and so it will have already clocked you but still freeze to the spot and watch until arms feel too heavy to hold up and the gnawing of many, many mosquitoes becomes unbearable. Then it is home-time. Blackbirds salute the sinking sun and it is time leave the moor to the creatures of the night...

I only have a little snap snap camera so for real top hobby pics see Jack Barnes' amazing Zenfolio