I stopped in the hide to some marshes/watermeadows which are usually flooded in winter for the ducks and geese, but due to the lack of rain they were still mostly dry. There were a load of Greylags, our commonest goose, but feral, and a few Canadas, ditto. Allegedly there were Whitefronts but too far off to see properly and I couldn't be arsed to walk round, the wind was dire. A bunch of Teal but again very few Wigeon, and a few Gadwall in the distance. A couple of Snipe surprisingly stationary among a flock of parked Lapwings, I'm pretty sure a Green Sandpiper flew down and immediately vanished behind a bank, very black and white.
Just as I was thinking of leaving for a walk on the beach, there was a magnificent trumpeting and honking, and a flock of about 150 Barnacle Geese came down from the north, circled around, flew back north, and then returned to land right in front of the hide, a superb spectacle. There are feral ones around these parts but I was convinced this sort of quantity must be wild.
Not so according to someone I met on the beach today, there are as many as 200 feral ones now. I'd gone looking for a Lapland Bunting. He hadn't seen it but had seen a couple of Shorelarks, and the Twite flock has built up to 50 - 60. I saw none of them, maybe I didn't walk far enough, but the light was spectacular and I sat on the shingle bank looking out to sea for a while. Some other people had failed to see anything except some Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Teal, which was pretty much my lot also.
HOWEVER yesterday I also saw a Hobby from the back window. I saw a few over the reedbeds in spring and one over a common in summer. They are well spread out in small numbers over the farmland but I'd missed them all, and most years I see one or a pair, or a family party, from the house - until then none this year. Probably the dragonflies are keeping them fed.
Where we used to live they were likewise distributed in small numbers over the farmland. A game keeper told me they had bred in an old crow's nest in a tree next to the path I walked from time to time and I completely missed them. In my defence I was usually looking in the opposite direction for the Buzzards which had just moved in, but they can be elusive, I often spot them when Swallows and House Martins are panicking high up. Sometimes it's a Sparrowhawk but often a Hobby.
Some setaside fields where we used to live would erupt with Summer Chafers around the end of June, and the Hobbies would arrive spot on nine pm and fly around until dusk catching the chafers and eating them on the wing. There were as many as eight Hobbies and five Kestrels. Not sure I don't prefer watching them to Peregrines!