Saturday, 12 April 2014

Hoopoe, Stodland: Kent

Having bagged the Black-winged Stilts at Bower's Marsh last evening, we thought it about time we had a go at catching up with the overwintering Hoopoe.
First reports of this bird were back on the 24th November when it was reported from Sandy Lane.
So it was well over due a visit, and today was the perfect time, as Brian was working and he had already seen the bird earlier in the week.
So myself and dad set off on the 45 mile trip at around 7am. An hour later and we were parked up in the Oastpark Golf course carpark.
Following Brian's directions, we headed off through the metal gate and back onto a small private road. A short distance North of here was a public footpath that lead along the side of the farm house and which gave views of the farm's garden.
Standing alongside the fence and looking back up towards the top of the garden the bird was seen without even having to raise my bins.
It was probing the ground for any food items, and didn't seem bothered at all by our presence.
We spent the next 2 hours watching the bird, mainly feeding, occasionally it flew to a small tree nearby only to return shortly afterwards to resume feeding.
The only time it seemed alarmed was when a Peregrine flew directly overhead, The Peregrine suddenly went into a dive and it wasn't looking good for the Hoopoe.
Luckily the Peregrine had a different target in sight and went down in the field North of the farm.


Before we left there were several other birders that arrived, two of which had spent a couple of hours searching the golf course, having already tried the garden beforehand with no luck.
They were quite pleased to have finally found it!
Black-winged Stilt and Hoopoe, two nice year ticks in two days.

News this morning that the two Black-winged Stilts had not stuck overnight, disappointing but not  altogether unexpected.

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