It has long been an ambition of mine to see a UK Hoopoe. Even before my birding took on a more serious note there were three birds I really wanted to see; Hoopoe, Dartford Warbler and a Stone Curlew. I have now achieved that long standing target, although I never expected the Hoopoe to be a December tick!
This is the third Hoopoe I have intentionally tried to “twitch,” and the third time I have set out to see this particular Hoopoe. The first visit was three weeks ago in gale force winds. I was there at first light and hung on as long as I could, a duration of about five hours. It showed, about twenty minutes after my departure.
Visit two was last weekend, it was reported at 1.00pm and I arrived at about 2.30pm. I hoped it would show quickly as only around 90 minutes of light remained on what was already a very dull and rainy afternoon. One other birder was there and we were treated to an in flight glimpse as it passed over our heads. We were unable to relocate it. I was less than satisfied with my first Hoopoe sighting and had hoped for a picture, so Monday, the first day of my Xmas holiday; I was again in a reclaimed quarry in Wall Heath, hoping this Black Country loving Hoopoe would put in an appearance.
It did! and I was able to get a few record record shots too.
As usual, I had taken my camera and my spotting scope. My intention was to use the camera if the bird was particularly mobile, but if it allowed I could attach my phone to my scope and phonescope a few record shots. I don’t know why; after all this time phonescoping, that the quality of the pictures still surprises me.
It was early morning, overcast and very very dull. The camera even with its 1’ sensor required a high ISO to achieve anything like usable shutter speeds, especially at full zoom. I also had to go into the digital zoom range because of the distance involved to the subject; this also impacts on shutter speed and picture quality.
Now obviously the scope has a much greater optical reach than the camera and with the iPhone attached it did an admirable job. I am not sure how the phone operates as well as it does with low ISO in poor light, but on this occasion it definitely out performed the camera.
Results from the iPhone and Novagrade adapter
Results from Camera