Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Hoopoe at Dawlish Warren, 24th November 2014

On my day tour in Norfolk on the 14th November we chatted about birds and on being asked what bird I would most like to see in the UK, I replied with hoopoe (Carl's was Siberian rubythroat). And in a bizarre twist of fate a hoopoe was found at Dawlish Warren the next day (15th)!

Hoopoe in Egypt 2013 - the view I was hoping for at Dawlish Warren in 2014

I wasn't expecting it to hang around but it was still being reported on the 22nd November and so on the 24th, my first free day to go and look for it, I headed off on the train to Dawlish Warren. It was a beautiful cold and sunny morning with a heavy frost, the first of the winter, and everywhere was looking white, not the best weather for a warmth loving bird to survive the night.

Having seen a flyover merlin from the train near South Brent I arrived at The Warren and had a look around the Buffer Zone where the hoopoe has been most often reported but with no luck. A look along the beach for the randomly reported Bonapartes gull also drew a blank so I headed off to the hide to view the high tide roost. The usual waders were on view - curlew, oystercatcher, grey plover, dunlin, knot, redshank and bar tailed godwit - along with shelduck, brent goose, wigeon and a lone redhead red breasted merganser. 2 water pipits were feeding in the saltmarsh by the hide with skylarks and rock pipits and gave some very nice views before being flushed by a birder walking past.

A snipe was flushed from a boggy area in Greenland Lake and a great spotted woodpecker was heard in the wood but it was out of bounds due to flood defence works and the area being cordoned off. A male bullfinch flew over, looking very bright in the strong sunlight, while offshore 2 great crested grebe and a lone common scoter were all I found in the flat calm conditions

I  then concentrated on the Buffer Zone again but with no luck and so I headed off to wander around the village where the hoopoe seems to spend most of its time in the gardens and out of sight. Again I was out of luck despite wandering around the quiet grassy areas of the caravan park. I decided to have a look from the railway platform overlooking the golfcourse and Buffer Zone but wasn't very hopeful, enjoying the sight of a red admiral flying around in the sunshine. However after a few minutes of scanning around I saw the distinctive black and white winged floppy flight of a hoopoe as it flew from the golf course to the construction site area, a brief and distant view and one I almost couldn't believe I was seeing. I headed off to the area where it landed but couldn't find it although a passing birder had seen it on the ground briefly before it flew off again.

And so I had seen my first UK hoopoe, not the views I had hoped for but a sighting none the less.

Hoopoe in Egypt 2012 - not the view I had at Dawlish Warren in 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment