Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Patch Envy & Hoopoe Hunting

Since coming back from Cornwall I've been keeping an eye on sightings there and you may recall that I met up with the lucky birder who has Polgigga as his patch. He goes out twice a day with his son to see what's about. During the week of the holiday the only thing he turned up was a hoopoe on a couple of occasions but I notice that this week he's found a wryneck at the end of the lane and the next day had a bee-eater on the telegraph wire along the lane and a tawny pipit fly over as well as the wryneck still being there. It rather puts my patch garganey and osprey into perspective - I've got real patch envy!

This morning I was midway through a run around Burgess Field (first whitethroat and sedgie of the year) when I got a text to say that a hoopoe had been found at Marsh Baldon by that birding rarity machine Phil Barnett. I ran back as fast as I've ever done and bundled my gear into the car, arriving to find Jason Coppock and a couple of the Wyatt brothers already present. Gradually more birders turned up and we split up to scour the area. There were loads of lush (vicar-ish) lawns by the village houses as well as plenty of farm buildings and fields so it all looked like hoopoe heaven though it did make trying to find it rather a needle in a haystack situation. Jason Coppock did manage to see it flying once so we all headed off in that direction and continued searching. During this time I saw a yellow wagtail with Phil Barnett and a yellowhammer (my first of the year) but there was no sign of the hoopoe. It could have moved on or it could be hiding in any one of a hundred different locations. Hopefully it will turn up again though they are notoriously hard to twitch.

A bit of list book keeping:

National Year List 2010
149 sedge warbler 21/04/2010 Burgess Field
150 whitethroat 21/04/2010 Burgess Field
151 yellowhammer 21/04/2010 Marsh Baldon

Oxon Year List 2010
119 sedge warbler 21/04/2010 Burgess Field
120 whitethroat 21/04/2010 Burgess Field
121 yellowhammer 21/04/2010 Marsh Baldon

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