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