I checked out West Hartford this morning and much to my surprise one of the first birds to be picked up was the 1s hobby (11.25) - distantly feeding on insects above the River Blyth. As with the first appearance of this Cramlington mega, it did not hang round long - it sped off east along the course of the river, towards Bebside. A great start! I dispatched a text to STH, who replied pretty quickly with news of a shoveler at Arcot (Cramlingtons other well watched spot).
Not too much was going on over at the flash - the hobby sighting was complimented with a soaring buzzard and a couple of kestrel.
Checking the pager there was news that a hobby, possibly this bird, had been at nearby Wallsend Swallow Pond at 11.00.
Then the mobile rang - it was STH, with an enthusiastic "Hobbys' at Arcot!!!"... so it was back to the car and off to Arcot for me!
Sure enough the 1s hobby was still present, in fact it was showing very nicely, perched in the stand of dead trees that are in the south west corner of the pool (these trees once held a 1s osprey in the early 2000's!).
With not much further a do, it fed for the next forty minutes or so, freaking out the barn swallows and common terns on the pool, gorging on the plentiful insects. Often the hobby would soar very high then without any notice, stoop incredibly fast to the pool and zoom over the water. Needless to say it was very very tricky to photograph - the image in this post is hot off the card... I think I have a better shot or two to play with later.
As if the hobby wasn't good enough, another Cramlington scarcity appeared over the back of the pool. With the presence of hobby freash in our minds, my first call of "hobbys' back" was quickly sense checked - it was a cuckoo!... mmm, oops! To put the cuckoo sighting in perspective, it's probably the first I've seen in the town since approx 1992!!
Also at Arcot this morning: grey heron, great spotted woodpecker, common tern, sedge warbler, buzzard, kestrel, sparrowhawk, mallard, moorhen and canada goose.
So a great morning. The hobby drifted south-east (to Holywell / Wallsend Swallow Pond?) just after 12.30. Hope we get another visit.