Sunday, 20 May 2012
Dipping the Hoopoe, St Albans (19th May)
I only came across the news that a Hoopoe had been sighted on the 17th May late the following day. On Saturday, I decided to go for it. The weather wasn't bad (for birding) with previous light rain and some cloud. However, I didn't get very far on my first attempt as I got a puncture half way there. It didn't improve as I got very frustrated and ended up having to walk all the way back home with a bleeding toe (caused by me kicking the bike out of anger). Thankfully, my dad offered me a lift when I got home and I finally arrived mid-morning at Batchwood Golf Course. It was clear, as soon as I arrived that the chances of me refinding the bird were very slim. Firstly, I was the only birder there and secondly, there were masses of golfers whacking their golf balls in every possible direction so I had to spend most of the time making sure I wasn't hit by a rogue ball. Unsurprisingly, I didn't find the bird, all I saw was a ♂ Kestrel carrying prey, a few Mistle Thrushes and some flyover Swifts. The neighbouring Gorhambury Estate was equally quiet, although I only visited the eastern section. I noted a few Red Kites and Lapwings in the sheep fields but unfortunately no exciting migrants.