Not a very good photo (my camera is currently on the broken list) but this chap has become a regular visitor, especially when the lawn has been mowed, which is not as frequently as we would like. The hoopoo was one of the birds I remember from trips to France with my parents many years ago and it is great to see they are still surviving around here in South-West France when, certainly in the south of England, so many of our hedgerow and other birds have disappeared. Apart from its crest and funky hairstyle, the hoopoo has a very distinctive call 'oop, oop, oop', giving the bird its Latin name upupa. It flies a bit like a butterfly and of course its most important tool is its beak used for scooping up insects, etc. This one was happily digging for insects with our blackbird until he got too close to the nest and was unceremoniously shooed off. In the garden we see all sorts of birds including buzzards, kites and egrets, while blackbirds, doves, various types of finch and tit, swallows and hedge sparrows are currently nesting along the bottom of the garden and particularly in the barn. Just the other day there seemed to be what could only be decribed as a swallow party with a group, or flight, to use the official term, of over 50 swallows on the telegraph line in front of the house. I know because I counted them, although unfortunately, some changed places while I was counting making the figure only approximate. I can only be glad they are not all nesting in our barn, which will double as poolside bar in summer!
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