Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Hobby Food.

As a follow up to my recent post providing views of some of the wildlife at Thursley Common I thought I would share another unexpected find .... but if you are a bit squeamish just take care as you scroll downwards!

During the summer months Thursley Common, with its dearth of dragonflies and damselflies (I believe a total of 26 different species have been recorded here), is an excellent place to watch a Hobby (Falco subbuteo) chasing, catching and feeding on dragonflies. The best conditions are on a calm, warm day but so far this year there have been very few of those! This medium sized, elegant falcon has the ability to catch birds in flight, including Swallows and even Swifts using its supreme velocity when chasing and stooping on its prey.

On my recent visit, with the very cool, overcast conditions I was struggling to find many invertebrates and certainly didn't expect to see a Hobby but while searching the waterside vegetation I heard something drop out of the sky and fall close to where I was standing on the boardwalk. After a brief search I spotted a fluttering movement of wings and to my utmost surprise I located this individual .........

A Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) clinging onto a stem BUT clearly missing all its abdominal segments. I attempted to reach out and pick it up for closer inspection but again to my surprise it fluttered its wings and moved to another perch which did then enable me to get a much closer image of the damage .... probably caused by an incomplete attack by its fearsome predator, the Hobby or possibly as a result of an accident during copulation (which occurs in flight and only takes from 5 - 20 seconds) .... I will never know for sure.

  Definitely a view of 'nature in the raw' ...... taken with the Canon Powershot.

Just in case you are wondering this is what an entire Four-spotted Chaser should look like.

Searching the sky above the bog I eventually located two Hobby's in fairly relaxed flight fairly high up so on this occasion I can only offer this heavily cropped image (see below).

I can't wait for a series of warm, calm days when I might just get the opportunity to watch and photograph this species at much closer quarters ..... well I always live in hope!   FAB.


  1. i can't imagine that dragon is long for this world...

  2. What an interesting find Frank.
    A lucky escape, but I doubt it'll survive for long.

  3. Wow, I've never seen anything like that Frank! I wasn't aware of this Hobby behavior. I always thought that they were much like the Kestrel but from what I understand, they can't hover like the Kestrel.

    Incredible shots of the Four-spotted Chaser!

  4. Theresa ... I guess you may be right.

    Thanks Kerri. Hope it didn't startle you too much!

    Cheers Keith.

    Hi Larry. You are correct, the Hobby doesn't hover but has immense arial agility although when chasing Dragonflies its flight is much more lazy!

  5. One of my favourite birds. I saw my first one 'in the feather' as it were last year on the Somerset Levels and because I'm spending more time up there this year, the sightings are more frequent. Watching them hunt never fails to thrill me :).

  6. That is an amazing find Frank, quite unique I would imagine! I am amazed that the thing was still alive! As you say , a true example of nature in the raw!
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  7. I am amazed with that dragonfly without its body. Still beautiful, and wish it would have a longer life.

  8. Hi Gaina. I'm delighted you are getting good views of this intrepid hunter of he skies.

    Hi John. Just goes to prove that you can always find something new in nature.

    Icy BC. I guess it has probably already succummed!

  9. What an amazing image Frank, how an earth is it surviving.?

  10. Неймовірні фото!
    Бідолашна комаха! чи вона зможе вижити без частини тільця?
    Have a great weekend!
    xoxo, Juliana

  11. Wow, the hunter becomes the hunted!

  12. Wow, what a find Frank and what remarkable photos.


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