Saturday, April 19, 2014

self-found hoopoe - just splendid

Today's highlight was easily my single-observer five minutes with a hoopoe at Hovs Hallar. There were too many non-birders (NoBs) walking the path for it to stick around for those trying to twitch it sadly, but it may still be lurking somewhere.

Got up rather late this morning but got to Sinarpsdalen for 0800 and my attempt to add lesser spotted woodpecker and grey wagtail to the year-list was partially successful with a single female grey wagtail popping up to look at me.

Klarningen next, chasing garganey. No joy but there were a few birds on site including 23 wigeon, four shoveler and eight redshank. News of a hoopoe flying over Förslöv sent me off to Hovs Hallar on a gamble. After a random police breathalyser test I reached the site and eventually settled in my usual place looking south from the low ridge towards Gröthögarna. Now Hovs Hallar is the site in BK where I should spend more time. Geographically it has huge potential, especially in spring and it is hugely under-watched. This New Year I made a resolution to visit more often but it is a hard place to work in the traditional sense but a great place to sit and watch birds go by. This static form of birding has taken me ages to get used to but it paid off very quickly today.

I had hardly settled in when a bird flying past caught my attention. A single avocet resolutely heading north high above the sea. Only my fifteenth BK record and coming after a blank year in 2013 a most welcome addition to the year-list. On the sea a single gannet and red-necked grebe. Raptors were dribbling through with sparrowhawk and kestrel heading north and out over the sea, their presence indicated by corvid harassment. Amazingly a snow bunting went through north too hugging the shoreline but not stopping. Then the crows were up again and I looked on in amazement as the hoopoe appeared to the south flying towards me for a minute before dropping into the scrub - my second BK bird. I texted out a message and looked up in time to see it coming on towards me again. This time it landed in view and after a few desultory pecks of the turf it was flushed by Easter walkers and hopped the wall. I gave chase but looking over the wall revealed no bird, an amazing vanishing act. Håkan J arrived just a few minutes too late and Jan was not far behind but I fear they dipped.

After lunch we all took the bus down the hill and walked back up Sinarpsdalen in the blazing sun. Butterflies and bees were on the wing. I finally caught up with a singing willow warbler and four hawfinches were good to see as usual. A black woodpecker called in the distance. A great day.



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