At last I managed to get some reasonable photographs of my favourite bird (tied with Wallcreeper). Hoopoes (Upupa epops) are very flighty birds when breeding and on most occasions when I've seen them in Southern climes I've been resigned to observing them without disturbance. The Dumfriesshire bird at Carsethorn on the Nith estuary in Scotland became increasingly habituated to the comings-and-goings of observers and photographers last week. Just by chance I had timed a visit back home to Ayrshire and so I had to make the short trip for this cracker.
When I arrived I spent about an hour crawling belly down in the sand (aka field craft) to approach it without disturbing it and annoying other observers... though most were only to keen to get close too. By the end of the day it was clear that walking right up to the bird was all that was needed - it just didn't seem to see humans as a threat. In fact the only time it looked alarmed was when the Pied Wagtails in the horse paddock alarm-called or gave flight calls while passing over. While showing amazingly close it kept to longer vegetation most of the time which was not ideal for eye-level shots. I went back down for a second day, by which time it was ridiculously tame and walking under tripods.