My solitary lapwing is still visiting. He has now trained me to re-hydrate dry puppy food and put this outside the living room door. I hope he appreciates them as much as the other birds do.
The glacial weather continues in this normally clement area of France, it was -13 C this morning at 8 a.m. I am spending more time beside our log burning “insert” – a closed log fire that in addition warms the air by a heat exchange system. I am wondering if it is our house in particular or if all houses have their share of unexpected visitors.
My lapwing makes me think of a summer visitor to the garden who also has an elegant crest – the hoopoe (Upupa epops) or huppe. One in particular, paid us a visit last year – entering via the insert. This is in itself quite a feat as the insert is not open like a normal fireplace but blocked by a heavy metal plate. Returning home one afternoon at the end of April last year we were alerted by a scuttling noise emanating from the insert. When we opened the glass door a hoopoe was perched in the far corner on top of the cinders which luckily dated from some days earlier!
He looked amazingly smart for something that had just come down a chimney. My husband happily took up the challenge to retrieve him and enjoy the rare opportunity to have a hoopoe in his hand.
The hoopoe looks such an exotic bird with its colourful markings and retractable crown feathers. We had often seen them from afar and we were even more impressed with its markings and regal composure when we had the opportunity to view it so closely. Not wishing to cause it distress we quickly released it into the front garden.
He took flight and shook off the inconveniences and affronts of falling down a chimney and being handled by a human with regal aplomb and looked down at us from the telephone wire with the hauteur of regard suitable for such a magnificent bird towards mere earthlings.