Friday, April 18, 2014

Hoopoe? What Hoopoe?

The Hoopoe excavating some unfortunate person’s lawn about 10 miles away decided my birding destination should 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. 

Hoopoe

Fluke Hall gardens have 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. 

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

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. 

Buzzard

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. 

 
Kestrel

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. 

Northern Wheatear

 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. 

Hoopoe

There’s more unexciting bird watching soon from Another Bird Blog. Log in if you dare.

Linking today to Anni's Birding Blog and  Eileen's Saturday Blog.

31 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Phil, Great post! I would love to see the Hoopoe! Awesome photos and great birds.. Have a great weekend! Happy Easter!

Jen said...

I don't know how you could see an owl and a Kestrel without getting excited. I would be thrilled.

Kay L. Davies said...

The kestrel is absolutely beautiful, Phil.
I've never seen a hoopoe.
I've never seen a kestrel, either, for that matter.
K

eileeninmd said...

Phil, thank you for linking up to the critter party. Happy Easter!

Mary Cromer said...

And we are so happy that you do go bird watching and share your great stories, along with your beautiful bird images and so much knowledge gleaned...otherwise we would have never have meat one another going on 5 years now for me, and I kind of like knowing you and viewing your little world. Happy weekend to you and yours~

Mary Cromer said...

OH did I just see the word met spelled wrong when I sent my comment in for your approval...yikes

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I would be happy happy to see the owl. And the kestrel. And the wheatear...well especially the wheatear, because that would mean I was on a fabulous trip, since I am pretty sure there are none here in the US. Just like there are no hoopoes. But I'd be happy with any of the birds you saw. And I'm happy you shared them. Thanks.

David Gascoigne said...

I think that this account reveals the obvious - there is a whole lot more to birding than chasing rarities. If you had gone to find the Hoopoe you would, no doubt, have had to deal with hundreds of twitchers. Instead you had a great walk in areas you know so well and had a fine time immersed in the birds of those areas. A Tawny Owl is always a great find and despite the difficulty of getting a good photograph of a Kestrel you did in fact achieve that.
You are a Pilling Promenader Sans Pareil!!

EG CameraGirl said...

The Hoopoe is such a handsome bird!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

How beautiful!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Isidro Ortiz said...

Buenas capturas Phil,la primera de la Abubilla es muy buena.Un abrazo

Naquillity said...

the hoopoe is a beautiful bird with all that plumage on its head and that long, curved beak... i also loved that northern wheatear... so many great photos... have a great day/ weekend~

Janet Shaw said...

The Kestrel is my favorite. :)

TexWisGirl said...

well, your european birds are still exotic to me. love your wheatears!

sandyland said...

love this hoopoe

Roan said...

Wonderful series of birds. The hoopee is a fine looking bird, but like the kestrel best!

Gunilla Bäck said...

Wonderful birds! I love both the owl and the kestrel. I wish you a Happy Easter!

Adam Jones said...

Cracking Kestrel. I've been reading about the Hoopoe sightings recently with real jealousy. Hope you're lucky enough to catch up with one.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Oh my word!!! That Hoopoe is something so beautiful!! Amazing...absolutely amazing. Of course I enjoyed the other images of other birds...but that Hoopoe...extraordinary.

Anni said...

...sorry, I'm was in my Hootin' Anni admin for Blogger when I just commented... and it should be from Anni @ I'd Rather B Birdin'...

my apologies.

Carole M. said...

o.k....so the Hoopoe really does a job on a lawn? When I see the magpies digging in my garden I think good, because they generally are digging up the big-white Curl Grub that eats roots. The Hoopoe is so impressive to see (from my side). Nice to spot the Tawny Owl and Buzzard ...and Kestrel. You get such great photos of a variety of birds. You put in the miles and come up trumps Phil.

Christian Weiß said...

The Kestrel and the Owl are stunning, great sights.

Christian Perrin said...

Exciting to have a Hoopoe turn up in the UK! I would have found it hard to resist jumping in the car and driving the ten miles, but at least your Tawny Owls and Kestrels don't feel neglected :)

retriever said...

Great fotos and birds, happy Easter from Belgium

retriever said...

Great fotos and birds, happy Easter from Belgium

Shey Wicklund said...

Love all these birds and especially the kestrel. I would be happy if I will see a hoopoe!

Katy Payne said...

We had a Hoopoe on our garden yesterday in Sennen, Land's End.
Bird watching isn't a hobby of mine but I do enjoy wildlife and I was certainly impressed by the Hoopoe. I'd never heard of one before so when I saw this exotic looking thing in my garden I had to Google it. I felt very privileged when I realised how rare it was in the UK. I got some lovely pictures.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Unexciting, Phil? I would be quivering with excitement if I saw a Hoopoe in Malaysia. Good post and images as usual.

Stuart Price said...

I'm confused, did you see the Hoopoe or not?

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Phil Wonderful photos especially I liked the Kestrel and Owl. Hope you had a great Easter.

Gail Dixon said...

Superb photos! The hoopoe is such a beautiful and interesting bird. The kestrel is a difficult one to get close to for sure.

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