When I got to the monument this morning Jack Chantler told me that there were two Hobbies sitting in one of the large fields. Unfortunately there were shy of close approach and I just got a few distant snaps of one of them flying. It turned out that earlier they'd been sitting on the straw bales, so I could have added another species. These beautiful dashing falcons were very scarce, not that many years ago, but now in spring it possible to see up to 30 or so dashing through the sky in the Stour Valley at Stodmarsh or Grove Ferry. The numbers breeding in Britain have increased from around 260 pairs in 1987 to an estimate of around 2200 pairs in 2000 although this may be on the high side. Hobbies migrate to sub-Saharan Africa so we benefit from the increased numbers here when they are moving to their winter quarters.
We found a group of three Wheatears late in the morning, although none had been seen earlier. The may well have just arrived as they seemed content to rest
Young Herring Gulls are prominent in the gull flocks and some are still begging from adults from the roofs of buildings in the village, there strange squeaky cries being unmistakable. Overall it was still quiet although it seemed that the Willow Warblers had gone and were replaced by Chiffchaffs. Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats were still evident in small numbers and Jack saw a Golden Plover a we both heard a Ringed Plover but could find its whereabouts.