Revving for the Rev

Today I went in search of a hoopoe – wonderful and exotic looking creatures that I have seen many times in southern Europe but only twice in the UK, though there are a handful of sightings every year. This one had been seen near Holme, but failed to show up for me when I walked out along the Holme dunes reserve in the late afternoon. Mind you it was cold and blowing a gale, so I reckon any self-respecting hoopoe would have found a nice quiet bit of shelter somewhere…..or, better still, flown off to the south of France!

Despite the weather it’s lovely walk through the dunes and – as I hadn’t been there for a good while – a reminder of just how interesting and varied the landscape is. There were plenty of linnets in fresh summer plumage but not much else, though I did hear a lesser whitethroat.

Earlier in the afternoon I had taken a short walk along the coast path at Thornham harbour where, among lots of redshank, I did manage to get good views of a new 2023 species, a couple of wood sandpipers – a rather lovely wader. There was also a male garganey quite close to the path, only my second of the year.

wood sandpiper (photo taken 2011)

Brenda writes: “The weather was not great (again!) for moths but there was a common swift which had better markings than previous individuals and we had our first hawk moth of the year, a poplar hawk-moth, which has beautiful brown markings on the hindwing. Hawk-moths have to expend a lot of energy in order to fly and so they “rev up” their wings prior to flight. Hopefully there will be several more species of hawk-moth soon!”

common swift
A poplar hawk-moth “revving up”!

New species for May 12th:
Birds: wood sandpiper
Moths: poplar hawk-moth