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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Kessingland Dunes Hoopoe

I headed south to Kessingland yet again this morning, the Kessingland/ Benacre area is enjoying a real purple patch this spring. It was still early enough to avoid the hourly gridlock. Parking at the south end of Kessingland village I walked down the well trodden route to the Dunes and soon joined Chris M, Peter N and Paul & Jane looking at the wonderful colourful Hoopoe that was on the track ahead of us around 80 yards away. Thanks to Jane for letting me look initially through her scope, much appreciated. This fantastic bird was feeding down the path walking away from us and then it flew first east and then west where we saw it again feeding along the southern path bordering Kessingland Sluice. As usual a stunning bird with long dark down curved bill orange- brown crest with dark notches and the striking orange- brown plumage with black and white bars on the wings. It then suddenly flew to the middle of the dunes and wasn't seen for a while until I picked it up flying its characteristic swooping undulating flight low over the ground just to the left of a bush on the western edge of the Dunes. By this time Tony B had joined us and he keen to see the bird having missed it in flight and spent time waiting for it patiently to appear. So we made our way carefully along the southern edge of the Dunes and standing concealed behind a large bush, we could see the bird sitting on the western edge of the path here, where it rested for a good ten minutes. It then flew up flew up and south and then crossed east over the dunes towards the beach. Five minutes later it was seen flying back towards the dunes. A super bird and my first UK one since the popular Corton bird on 31 March 2009 (see my blog for that date "A real Bobby Dazzler!") We also saw on the Dunes 5 fine Wheatears, 4 males and 1 female by the paths. I had to reluctantly leave around 10am as I had promised to help with a move. No apologies for the distant accompanying picture, the bird was very flighty and wouldn't allow any sort of close approach, although 1 unknown chap tried and actually pushed the bird towards us. The picture is also very heavily cropped record shot. >

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