Its been a beautifully clear day, very warm out of the stiff easterly wind, and I'm just about to go to the weir pool at Caversham lock to snap a few photos of the Grebes there, if I'm, lucky.
I was just gazing out of our huge windows a minute ago, looking north, and I saw from a distance a falcon hot-winging it towards the office.
As I watched it get closer and closer, it became obvious that it was a Hobby! These are beautiful falcons, smaller than a Kestrel, (and Peregrine, therefore), with russet coloured feathers around their legs.
It sped over the office, right above my head, at speed, heading south.
They are incredibly agile and hunt dragonflies, swallows and martins - and slow moving prey on the wing, during the summer months. Hobbies are unusual amongst falcons in that they are summer visitors to the UK from Africa, not generally seen before April or after October.
The last time I saw one of these was last summer, chasing dragonflies over the Tottenham reservoirs. They can be seen at spots around the UK hunting in "packs" if you like, sometimes over a dozen strong, though it's each to their own following a kill!
In case you weren't aware, the inventor of the "Subbuteo" table football game wanted to patent his new invention as "Hobby", (not "Subbuteo"). The patent office thought that took the mickey a bit, so he decided to be sneaky, and call his new game the Latin name for Hobby - (Falco) Subbuteo. That is how "Subbuteo" (the table football game), got its name.