Tuesday, 11 September 2018
The light is fading and the warmth of the day is still with us. I'm in Nonsuch Park at the south-western edge of what is Greater London, a park that once housed King Henry VIII's palace, built in honour of Anne Boleyn. Like the nearby green oases of Richmond and Bushy Park, it is a large area of wild grassland, copses and standard trees. For the birder, a little bit of time spent on site is rewarding - which is why, as dusk is gathering, I am stood scanning the not unattractive scene before me for a Barn Owl, which has been delighting local birders. I feel self-conscious, a lone man lurking at the shadowy edges of a copse as the late dog-walkers and joggers pass me by.
A Hobby flies into view, close enough to take in all its colours even though colour has largely bled from the day. It is still hunting, and I watch spell bound as it catches moths, some quite sizeable individuals, devouring them on the wing. At 19.50hrs, in almost dark, it decides to head off to roost. And at 20.10hrs, owl-less, so do I.
This morning I received a tweet from Jack Barnes. He too saw the Hobby. And also the Barn Owl, which appeared at 20.15hrs...