I had just finished wandering around Sandwich Bay feeling quite pleased with having found 4 wheatears, 4 whinchats and 2 stonechats when a call alerted me to the presence of a hoopoe at Samphire Hoe. Suddenly what I had been trying to photograph for the previous hour lost its significance!
At Samphire Hoe the visitor centre kindly gave me directions and I shot off to the western end of the Hoe, the bird being in residence about 100 yards past the end of the Hoe itself. Tony Morris and family were already on the shingle merrily snapping away at the hoopoe which was only 20 yards or so up the cliff face and I joined them in the photo-fest.The bird was moving about quite a lot as it fed on the insects populating the cliff face vegetation but every now and again it came into view and the camera shutters rattled.
After 30 minutes it flew east some 20 yards to a more exposed area of cliff face but rapidly vacated that area and flew another 50 yards east and disappeared high into the cliff face vegetation.I departed at that point and don’t know whether the bird was relocated by the newly arriving birders; I hope so.
This has been Steve Ray, East Kent, for the Kingsdown blogspot.
His Flickr site is always worth a look - now he's got close-ups of a curlew sandpiper. It makes me weep - Ed.