I read with excitement yesterday that a hoopoe had been spotted at Conwy nature reserve and my fingers and toes were crossed hoping that it would still be there today.
What is a hoopoe? I hear some of you ask.
A hoopoe is normally seen in the warmer climate of Europe but the lone one can be spotted along our coast from time to time during its migration in Spring and Autumn. It is a stunning and exotic looking bird about the size of a mistle thrush. It has a brown body with black and white bars on its back and wings, a long downcurved bill and a fantastic black and white tipped crest. It is difficult to see on the ground as it forages for insects by probing the earth and leaf litter with its brilliantly designed bill. The hoopoe mostly loves to eat various insects but will eat worms and grubs too.
I have never seen one before so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to drive down there and hopefully see this stunning bird. I got to Conwy, North Wales at 9am and there were already quite a few there waiting to see this mysterious bird. There had apparently been a glimpse of it first thing so it was hopefully a matter of waiting till it popped out into the open again. There were people (including myself) busily scurrying from the coffee shop to the next hide and back like a yoyo in hope of spotting it. This went on for an hour until I got lucky. Suddenly one of the hides was alive with excitement and whispering….it had been spotted at last.
It was still a fair distance away but I could just see it through my 10×50 binoculars but better still through a spotting scope. What struck me about the bird, apart from how beautiful and exotic it is, was how well it was camouflaged on the ground amongst the rocks. One minute you saw it, then the next it seemed to disappear, merging into the background like a ghost.
It was fantastic to see such a stunning bird, especially in such a beautiful reserve as RSPB Conwy. Even though it was too far away for my little camera to take any photos, at least I can say that I have seen my first hoopoe.
RSPB Conwy is such a lovely place surrounded by wildlife, history and stunning views. As well as the hoopoe I got to see various waders, herons and robins,
and gaze out at Conwy castle, the lovely estuary and Mount Snowdon.
(Check out the Birds of Britain website here to see photo of a hoopoe and read more about them.)
Unfortunately as I finish writing my blog, word comes in that a peregrine has taken the hoopoe. RIP hoopoe, I’m glad I got to see you 😦