The Hoopoe excavating some unfortunate person’s lawn about 10 miles away decided my birding destination to be in the opposite direction this morning. If there’s one Hoopoe, there just might be another around the area or something equally exotic, but no one will ever find anything unless they go birding.
Fluke Hall gardens haves the look and feel of Hoopoe Land but alas there were none of the floppy fliers to be seen, just scolding Blackbirds and a post-dawn Jay directing me to a Tawny Owl instead. The owl was deep in the trees, a half view and half a picture was all I managed this time.
The owl flew to a private spot near the hall where it usually hangs out. I know that because the local birds often find the hidden owl and noisily tell the whole neighbourhood including visiting bird watchers. They should recognise the signs that point to a concealed owl.
There seemed to be very few birds on the move this morning despite or perhaps because of the clear, frosty start. Later there would be a couple of flighty redpolls at Lane Ends, but here nothing.
Never mind, there was a good selection of local birds with today the turn of Mistle Thrushes to be feeding youngsters. An adult bill packed with tiny items told of small young but I lost the adult as it dipped through the trees and then up again. There was a Grey Heron on the pool, a couple of Shelduck, the usual gaggle of Mallards and Moorhens, and in the tree tops 2 Buzzards calling to each other. Later on and as the sun warmed the air both Buzzards circled high over the trees.
The Kestrel pair sat along a fence line, two posts keeping the two apart; handsome birds but as adults hard to approach for a portrait.
In song amongst the trees and hedgerows were 3 Blackcap, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Song Thrush and 1 Greenfinch plus uncounted commoners like Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird. One Great-spotted Woodpecker was actually drumming this morning, not very loud, more like a regular “tap-tap-tap” in the absence of competing males in the area. “Odds and Sods” comprised a single Swallow, 1 Little Egret and I male Reed Bunting on a regular stretch of territory.
There were 3 Wheatears at Lane Ends, 2 males and a female, all of which had the appearance of “Greenland” types. When I eventually caught the female, wing 97mm and low weight of 22gms, biometrics which placed it in the overlap zone, I decided that due to her male companions she was almost certainly a “Northern” Northern Wheatear.
I heard Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff in song here too, the trilling Little Grebe and there was a flying visit from the Damside male Kestrel.
The wildfowlers’ pools and sea wall were uneventful with regular counts of 300 Pink-footed Goose, 90 Shelduck, 65 Redshank, 4 Teal, 8 Linnet and 6 Skylark.
Well in four hours I didn’t see a Hoopoe, nothing exotic, untoward or even unexpected but I did enjoy a great morning of bird watching.
There’s more unexciting bird watching soon from Another Bird Blog. Log in if you dare.