Today was BTO WeBS wildfowl and shorebird count at the Farm. Unlike the previous months count the weather forecast was favourable. The next hurdle was to negotiate the obstacle course of a building site and then the thick mud which has been churned up by all the plant using the area.
Dodge was ringing and during a conversation I noticed what I initially thought was a female Goldeneye on the lake. The bird turned its head which had a white cheek patch and further scrutiny identified a female Bufflehead.
Although an escape was in my mind I wanted to get more pictures of the bird which caused some amusement in Dodge’s corner. Pete Alfrey picked up the photo tweet and questioned where the picture had been taken! Nick joined me and at this point the legs of the bird had not been seen.
The consensus was that the bird had to be looked at further and views of the legs and any rings noted. There had been a female Bufflehead at Staines Reservoir which had a silver ring on its right leg and this was the realistic outcome. This bird had caused similar interest when it was initially found.
During further discussion of the bird Pete exclaimed “There’s a bloody Hoopoe being mobbed by crows”. Sure enough this colourful and exotic bird was flying for its life as two crows pounced on it as it flew over the mound and past the incinerator and out of sight! Wow!
After a while Swifty re-located the bird on the main island which had the search party about turn and head back to the lake. The bird gave fantastic views despite the odd troublesome crow passing by! The Hoopoe froze as a Sparrowhawk completed a circuit about the island causing a few silent moments within our group as a result!This was the fourth record of Hoopoe at Beddington Farm. The last record was in 1968 which incidentally Phil C saw! I was three years old then! This special bird has been talked about by the regulars but I don't think any of us expected it to actually turn up! This species was a Beddington and VC17- Surrey tick for me!
What a WeBS day that turned out to be with an understandable delay in completing the count!