Sunday, 15 November 2015

Nov 15th Crostwick

Hoopoe watching!
There has been one bird that I have always wanted to see for many years but never been lucky enough to do so. Hoopoes are very attractive birds with their wader-like bill, zebra striped wings, pink plumage and best of all, a punk-like crest. They are my ultimate dream bird. The thing is, they have been eluding me for a long time. They do visit the UK as passage migrants in the spring and autumn months, but each year I fail to find one. I have even been to Southern Spain last year, where they are suppose to be common as muck, but even here I had no luck what so ever.

Today, I can safely say that my luck have finally changed as one has appeared just a few miles from Norwich in Crostwick near Spixworth and it has apparently been there for a few days. It was a pleasent surprise as hoopoes visiting the UK in November is very unusual. Normally, these birds travel south to the warmth of the Mediterranean (especially in Spain and Portugal) and Africa at this time of year. But for some reason, this hoopoe has decided it wanted a winter vacation over here instead.

As it was close by and I wanted to see my first ever hoopoe so badly, Dad and I made a short visit to see it. We parked at Hall Lane at Croswick, which was slightly packed with other cars owned by local birdwatchers who came for the same reason. I asked for directions to where the bird was from someone returning to his car. It wasn't far, just 100 yards down the road in fact. After the short walk, I soon found the crowd, but to get to them I had to climb a steep muddy bank and then peer over a fence that was just tall enough for me to look over without climbing onto it.

Half of these twitchers were leaving as I reached the top of the bank, but the ones that stayed were kind enough to direct me to the hoopoe. It was distant, in front of the furthest shed I could see, feeding in a paddock. Sometimes it was hidden behind a dip or a fence post, but when it was out in the open, I could see why this is a special bird. It was enchanting to watch, plunging its long, curvy bill into the ground and hauling up a worm to eat. Its crest opens now and then like an old fashioned hand-held fan, flashing in display. What a bird!

As you can see, I took a few distant photos and videos of it, but the windy conditions and the fact that I was trying to keep ballance on the top of the bank (one step back and I could be rolling back down into a tree!) made it hard to keep the camera still. Apologies for the shaky videos. I left the hoopoe with a grin on my face and my coat coated green from the algae covering the fence we were leaning on. But who cares about that, I've finally seen a hoopoe!!

1 comment:

  1. Great birds to see and excellent that you managed to see it after wishing for it for a while. I love them in flight, they look like giant butterflies :) I was lucky enough to see one in my home town once (Milton Keynes) but more often it has been only when I am on the continent that I catch them.