Saturday, 26 August 2017

The highs and the lows

Starting with the highs! Today we visited Loughborough hoping to catch a glimpse of a hoopoe which has been frequenting a housing estate for the past few days.

When we arrived I very much doubted it showing in the front gardens with so many birders around and with so many private back gardens for it to drop into out of sight, it seemed to me like we would have a long wait for perhaps at best a flight view between gardens. Fortunately though we walked past the right house at the right time. The owner came out and asked if we could take a look at a bird on her back lawn, which, guess what, turned out to be the hoopoe! The photos were taken through the glass of her patio doors, which fortunately she kept sparkley clean! The moral of the story? Always keep your windows clean because you never know what might appear on your back lawn.

Perhaps amazingly, I've never yet seen a hoopoe at a classic south or east coast migration point, in fact this is the furthest south and east of all of the hoopoes I've seen in the UK. I have however managed several in the north west, and now a couple in the midlands, as well as one in North Wales.

Now onto the lows, and this was the scene at dawn just four days ago, birders arriving at Portland Bill in Dorset, full of anticipation and hope that they were about to see Englands first ever American yellow warbler. Alas nobody told the bird and this atmospheric scene was about as good as it got all day. We had an 11 hour round trip, missed a nights sleep, used a tank full of petrol and to top it all got a parking fine despite having paid for 12 hours parking. We didn't even get to see much of Portland Bill, because we spent most of our time staring at the same group of bushes hoping that the bird would pop out. It never did....

The lighthouse in daylight. Days like this are important because they make the good days all the better, keep telling yourself that!

At least I got to see this wonderful golden-samphire, a species which I have only ever seen before in Pembrokeshire.

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