Tuesday 5 October 2010

Beautiful Birds (8): No Hoopoe, but a Crested Lark ...

We hoped to see a Hoopoe in the Peloponnese, but the 'closest' match was a Crested Lark ...

...on the beach near Homer's 'sandy Pylos'.

Head down among the Sea Holly and other foliage...

Not the best photo, but you can see the crest!

The Crested Lark had this lovely beach all to itself!
Not a soul in sight ... except us.
We were sad that the Hoopoe didn't put in an appearance during our week in the western Peloponnese, but it was a joy to watch this Crested Lark as it foraged in the scrub along the top of the beach.

I believe I first 'encountered' the Hoopoe in the comedy, The Birds, by Aristophanes when I was at school. The play opens with two friends making their way across a hillside on their quest to find the legendary King of Thrace, Tereus, who had taken the form of a Hoopoe. All the birds band together to build their Cloud Cuckoo Land empire in the sky, in a bid to 'reclaim' lost power from the Olympian gods. The play was first performed in 414 B.C.

It is possible that we will be seeing Hoopoes in the UK before long. I was interested in this Hoopoe information on Adam Tilt's blog.

You might also enjoy this blog about Hoopoes and other birds in Greece. These are the Hoopoe-related posts.

If you are on Facebook, be sure to check out the 'Hoopoe' page by typing the word into the search box.

As for the Crested Lark, well, I had not realised that it was such a complex creature. There are apparently over 60 forms of the species. The variations appear to be due in part to the different habitats, as the colour of the bird in a particular area often matches the local soil. I have no idea whether this is fact or theory. Back in 2007 folk at the RSPB were expressing concern over the dwindling population of the species. My thanks to Wendy Lister for this link - and this one.

I wonder where the Hoopoe will pop up next ... or will it be a Crested Lark?


Rosie Nixon Fluerty said...

Hi Caroline

Thats such a lovely little bird and what a great beach!

Crafty Green Poet said...

The crested lark is a lovely bird! I've seen a hoopoe once in Malawi. Apparently for years there was a hoopoe that used to visit the centre of Edinburgh in the summer but I never found out whether this was true or just a myth, lovely birds though, I hope they do start visiting us

Mary said...

I'd say getting to see that Crested Lark was pretty cool! What a great beach to explore.