Sunday, 21 August 2011

Twitching the South Coulsdon Hoopoe at Farthing Downs (20th August)

My brother and I left at 6:30am to catch the train to South Coulsdon (making no less than three changes) to try our luck with the long staying Hoopoe that had taken up temporary residents at Farthing Downs near South Coulsdon.  The trip alone took over an hour and a half and on arriving it took an additional half hour to get to the location at which the Hoopoe had last been seen.  Fortunately after making our way half way through the park we encountered a small group of birders already on the bird.  This meant no hard searching or trekking around the Downs.  Instead I was rewarded with my first ever British adult Hoopoe.  Although the view was distant it soon took flight and within minutes it was perched much closer on a dead tree were we continued to have an excellent view of it.  It became more confident throughout the day and after perching on the dead tree for only a few seconds it glided down onto the path even closer than before and offering the best view yet (unfortunately flushed by a jogger running straight into the bird causing it to fly back to the hedgerow west of the Downs and flying southward were we didn't find it for over an hour).  It was later relocated in the original field in which we first saw it, as before the view was distant but it remmained and feed in the location for a long period before flying back onto the Downs further south and being relocated by a new arrival of observers.  Unfortunatel it flew from the ground after being flushed by a dog but on our way back m brother and I and a handful of luck observers managed to get amazing views of the bird as it feed within meters of us perfoming beautifully and allowing me to take some record shots of the bird including some with its crest fully erect!

 one of the best views we had of the Hoopoe as it feed in the open on the path

 a rare view as it had its crest fully erect

some record footage of the Hoopoe feeding on the path taken by my brother Ephraim and edited by myself

good view of the buff orange mantle followed by first thin dark brown/black bar on mantle indicating adult male

 one of the first views we had of the Hoopoe perched in a dead tree

Also on the Downs as we trekked around searching for the Hoopoe (at times when it was more elusive) we came across 2 Hobbies, 3 Swift and 2 Kestrels.  The Downs also had large flocks of Linnet and Jackdaws in the neighbouring fields.

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