The most exciting thing happened this morning. I was sitting having some breakfast with Wonderwoman, and she suddenly said, “What’s that extraordinary bird on the lawn?” I looked out and saw what I initially took to be a greater spotted woodpecker but it looked too exotic for that – and I realised we must be looking at a hoopoe! I grabbed the camera and took some photos, and then she suggested I did some video, but I only managed a couple of seconds before he disappeared.
Looking him up on the Internet, he definitely was a hoopoe! This is a very unusual occurrence in Britain – they do occasionally appear in the south of England during the early summer, but usually live in Mediterranean regions – I was also reminded, in my researches, that the hoopoe is Israel’s national bird. They are very dramatically marked, with a long beak and a magnificent crest which they sometimes raise on their heads.
My mum is a keen bird watcher, and I immediately rang them to tell them what we’d seen, thinking she’d never believe me! Once, I saw a pair of quails in the garden, and when I reported this to her, she said loftily, “Oh, they wouldn’t have been quails – more like young pheasants, I should think.” I knew they weren’t pheasants, though, and next time they came over, my mum suddenly said, “You’ve got some quails in your garden!” “I told you so!!” I said.
My parents have only ever seen a hoopoe in Spain. Seeing one in a Devon garden is very exciting!
Here’s the video slide show (which includes the mini-video clip) which I created of our exotic visitor. I’ve added his distinctive (although not very exciting!) call, which he did not deign to sing for us today!
What a lot of excitement we’ve had this week!