Thursday, 9 October 2014


Last Friday and over the weekend I noticed reports emerging on the local yahoo group and other various bird groups that a Hoopoe was showing well at a location about 30 minutes drive away from my home.

On Tuesday the reports were saying that it was still there and showing well. Now, I don’t normally attend ‘twitches’ but on this occasion, as Hoopoes don’t put in regular appearances in this neck of the woods (they are classed as mega rarities) and as I’d never had the opportunity of seeing one before, I made an on the spot decision to go and see if it was as good as they were saying…and I wasn’t to be disappointed!

Once I arrived at the location the bird was easy to find…I just had to follow the direction in which all the ‘scopes and cameras were pointing and there it was, busily feeding on the ground in a small horse paddock next to a farm house, about 10 meters in front of the gathered throng and seemingly oblivious to the constant rattle of the camera shutters!

I was lucky enough to find a space between two fellow photographers, who kindly shuffled along to let me in, when to my amazement the bird came even closer, too close in fact, as it momentarily ‘disappeared’ behind the small picket fence in front of us. However, it was soon back out and giving us all good close views once again.

Slowly it worked it’s way over to the other side of the paddock and disappeared from view underneath a gate. It was eventually relocated about ten minutes later on the other side of the farm buildings (where it was less windy!).

I’d spent the best part of two hours admiring and photographing this amazing little bird, and I’d got my life tick, so decided it was time to head off home.

Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

Hoopoe 1

Hoopoe 2

Hoopoe 3

As an added bonus this long staying Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) was giving good, if rather distant, views as it flitted between the ground and the fence posts in an adjoining paddock.

Hoopoe - Wheatear

And now a little rant……..

While watching the Hoopoe I witnessed some behaviour that made me realise why I don’t normally attend ‘twitches’. By their very nature twitches usually involve lots of people gathering in one particular place to observe a rare bird. The normal situation is that they watch/photograph the bird (which on most occasions is already lost, stressed or confused) from a respectful distance. Unfortunately some people cannot help themselves and try and get as close to the bird as possible.

On this occasion I witnessed somebody, a renowned and self styled guru  of British birding (you know who he is!), and who frankly, should know better and at least try to put on a better example, crawl along on his belly into the owners property to get closer to the bird and by default keep it from moving closer the the other watchers who had respectfully stayed back waiting for the bird to ‘come to them’. Sadly this is not the first time that I’ve seen this person display this sort of tactics.

Hoopoe Closer 1

Hoopoe Closer 2

My advice is if he wants to get better/closer photographs he should invest in a better camera and a ‘bigger’ lens and respect the birds space!


ADRIAN said...

Well this is a cracking bird. It's a good job I didn't see it I wouldn't have had a clue what it was.

Name and shame Trevor. I don't think he is a proper birder as he hasn't got the camo gear on nor a very big thingy.

douglas mcfarlane said...

Hmm, always one, always one who moans about bird photographers, always one who runs the risk of upsetting the landowner who by the looks of the crowd has allowed people to stand and watch a bird and you know what the "proper" birder won't say anything either but will side with the individual when they feel a bit of "bird photographer" bashing is due. You know what Trevor personally I would send that image in to the letters page of bird magazines asking "is this the definition of a hypocrit" but I guess some will say it's good field craft...just a bit angry:-)
Back to the bird, what a beauty cracking images all of them. Well done Twitcher ooop's I meant Trevor(typo) lol

The Herald said...

It was a lovely bird to see Adrian, I'm glad that I went.
He's well known in the birding world, admired and hated in equal measure!!...[;o)

Douglas, I guess whatever activity it is there will always be one individual who's actions will spoil it for the rest?
Despite it all I did enjoy my two hours of being a twitcher and seeing this fantastic bird (wouldn't want to do it every day though!!)...[;o)

holdingmoments said...

Cracking pictures Trevor.
I can only guess who the 'grown up' was.
I'd do what Doug suggested, and send his picture to Bird Watching. That's the mag he does a rare bird roundup column for.

The Herald said...

Cheers Keith, it was worth being a grown up for a couple of

Yup!, you got it in one!!...[;o)

ADRIAN said...

Ta Keith. Who is this wanker. I hadn't heard of the bird or him. I would put a leg of my tripod down where the plumber keeps his pencil. That would sort him.

Bob Bushell said...

Well, you are a brilliant sort, fancy catching a HOOPOE, I can't get one. Trevor, you are with it.

The Herald said...

Thanks Bob, hopefully one will come your way soon...[;o)

Roy Norris said...

Congratulations Trevor on shooting some beautiful images of this fascinating bird. They are quite tame as I have seen them in Tuscany (No camera with me on Hols) they behave just like farmyard ducks walking around you on the lawn.{:))
I have heard horror stories before about some Twitchers. This is appalling behaviour by that person. Obviously a nobody in reality. You wouldn't see real birding celebrities like Chris Packham or Simon King behave like that. Disgraceful behaviour.

The Herald said...

Thanks Roy. Yeh, it seemed quite at ease with the watchers. It was good to catch up with it.

I think you've hit the nail on the head there, not the behaviour that you would expect from a proper birder!...[;o)


Good for you Trevor,your on the spot decision payed off, i have never seen one till you posted these for the chap lay on the ground, he's another kind of bird....a Tit.


The Herald said...

Thanks Peter, sometimes it pays to do things on the spur of the moment. It was a good bird to see and it's still there and showing well today, apparently.

Yup...that's one name you could call him?...[;o)

Frank said...

Nicely 'twitched' Trevor. Super images of your lifer.

Well I guessed it might be Lee Evans before I viewed his prone profile. Not someone I have ever admired and this despicable behaviour proves why.

Andrew Fulton said...

A wonderful bird to see... if you remember when we met at Findlays I was sending Mandy off to Dubai to her sisters to capture images of Hoopoes... she delivered!

The Herald said...

Thank you Frank.
There's always one person who has to spoil it for the rest and certain people seem to do it more than others!...[;o)

It sure was Andrew. I remember now, and I think most of us were rather envious at the time?...[;o)

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Trevor yes that was a good decision to go and see this beautiful bird and get these cracking shots. I have a Hoopoe in my post tomorrow (Sunday). Hope you are well and keeping out of mischief. Have a great weekend.