Summer appears to be over, and it's been a while since I saw a swallow darting across the skies in search of insects. They along with the subject of this post should be making their way across Europe and down to warmer climates, probably South Africa. Thankfully, before they left, they provided me with hours of entertainment and hundreds of fantastic images.
I am referring to the hobby. This migrant bird of prey spends its summer here in the UK where it breeds, before departing south again, usually in October. The adults tend to leave first, whilst their offspring hang around a little longer, perhaps to build up stamina for the long flight, and also to hone their hunting skills, necessary for life in general.
Back in May I marvelled at the returning adults as they hunted in numbers over the marshes in Oxfordshire. They soon dispersed to set up territories, and I was distracted by other subjects over the summer months. However, I always keep an eye on a few local reserves where I have seen them before, just in case, and as it happened, a hobby started to favour one such reserve early in September. It didn't take me long to go for a look and after a bit of a wait, the hobby suddenly appeared, whizzing overhead at speed to grab a dragonfly.