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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

A real Bobby Dazzler!



A real "Bobby Dazzler!" as the antiques expert David Dickinson might have said, if he had seen today's star bird in Lowestoft, a magnificent Hoopoe. This resplendent bird, so evocative of the Mediterranean, was found by Rob M feeding along the cliff top fields adjacent to the old Corton Sewage works. The Hoopoe, named after its "hoopoo-poo" call is a really magnificent and striking bird, sporting a crest, and very eye-catching plumage; with it's orange-buff colouration, black and white barring on the wings and tail, it used it's long slightly down-curved bill to constantly pluck insects and leather jackets from the earth. Sometimes it would throw them into the air and deftly catch them within it's mandibles. Not only is it a real stunner to look at, but it's even showing off whilst feeding!
Initially, the Hoopoe was a very flighty bird, but it eventually settled down in the evening giving good and prolonged views in both it's favoured feeding areas, the fields immediately north and south of the sewage works. The bird has been been blown across the North Sea due to a combination of a high pressure weather system over the U.K and the associated easterly airflow.
I was fortunate enough to see the bird during my lunch break for just 30 minutes, as well as having more leisurely prolonged views in the early evening. I also saw a fine male Wheatear and a small group of 15 Sand Martins flying around the cliffs. During the brief lunchtime visit, 2 Swallows briefly associated with the Martins before flying inland. I'm sure this will the precursor of a flood of spring migrants flying into the country over the next week.

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