Whilst out driver training one day in Germany I found a swallow roost in a maize field, I contacted my German friends to let them know where it was. And a few nights later we all went out to set up the mist nets in readiness for when the swallows would come to roost, the tape recorder was placed in the middle of the field which was boxed in by nets on all four sides, it was a small field.
All five of us then stepped back to the road that ran parallel to the field, we had a drink and bite to eat while waited for the swallows to do their thing. As the swallows started to come into roost we prepared ourselves for action by lining the road, each with our own area of net to work on.
Suddenly they all took off again moving as one, this could only mean that there was a bird of prey close by, as we looked around to see what it was, I got a shock as a Hobby flew at a fast rate of knots between my legs, it swooped up and reached out for a swallow which it duly caught.
I was amazed and had never experienced this before, a bird of prey using us as cover in order to get closer to its prey without being observed.
Nature is just quite wonderful...
Photo: Clive Newcombe