Monday, 16 April 2012

Hoopoe, The Bogey bird laid to rest

Nine attempts, Nine dips!
That's the total number of trips we made in 2011 to try to add Hoopoe to our life lists. We came close a few times, reaching the car park at Rainham before not being allowed any further.Missing one at Canvey by quite literally minutes. Another one missed at KGV Reservoir. All local sites, all failed attempts.
So it was with mixed emotions that we set off at 5am heading for Waxham. A quick check of the directions for the site and we find it without any problems. We head down the track and follow the path until we reach the area it's been seen most often in over the last five days. There's a couple of local birders already there looking for the recently reported Serin that has been seen amongst a flock of Linnets. There's no sign of the Serin despite the presence of two flocks of Linnets. There is also no sign of the Hoopoe and after spending the best part of two hours mainly looking at a blue toilet block in the middle of the field it begins to feel all to familiar.
A male Ring Ouzel in the top left hand corner of the same field lifts the mood. 
Another local birder's pager goes off and he tells us that the hoopoe has been seen at Nelson's Head track. We  head off in that direction in the company of the local birder (Julian Bhalerao). We reach the area where it has been reported to be told that it's been flushed by a dog.
The mood drops a little, but we stay positive with the knowledge that at least it's been seen and it's still present.
After 10-15 minutes of scanning, Brian spots a bird in the field behind us heading towards the beach. The flight pattern is very distinctive, it can only be a Hoopoe.
We head back along the path and find the bird feeding on the grass edges of the sandy track a short distance away. It's in the scope, It's a Hoopoe, and it's finally made it on to our life lists. It's high fives all round.
Photo by Julian Bhalerao
After enjoying superb views of the bird for the next hour, with sighting of Wheatears and another four male Ring Ouzels feeding together, plus the sight of a colony of Grey seals along the beach we head back towards the car. A quick stop at the food stall for a celebratory Sausage Bap and we are heading off home.
News comes through that the Osprey at Ranworth Broad is still present, we are only 4 miles from the site so it's not long before we are heading off along the boardwalk towards the area it's been seen in. After a ten minute walk and a quick scan we find it perched on a post at the back of the lake. We are well happy and quickly add Common Tern to the year list before leaving.
We start the journey home but Brian makes a short diversion and heads for The Brecks, it's not long after arriving that we have a Stone Curlew in the scope. Another very welcome addition to the year list.
A fantastic day, The day I finally got to put Hoopoe on my life list.