Thursday, March 5, 2009

Two years ago this week

White-billed diver and close!

Spotted sandpiper

Part of our UK farewell tour included a couple of days birding in Cornwall, during what was definitely a bit of a purple patch. The haul included white-billed diver, gyr falcon, spotted sandpiper, Franklin's gull and dusky warbler.

5/3/07 Hayle, Newquay and Stepper Point, Cornwall wet and windy, gale S
A quick three hour session with the girls around Hayle produced spectacular results. En route we had a single raven over. First off we hit the spotted sandpiper and got excellent views. Also here we had a single grey wagtail. Next stop was Lelant Station where we searched for the Franklin’s gull but it appears to have gone. We did get three Mediterranean gulls here though (two first-winters and one second-winter), little egret (1) and greenshank (5). Nearby we had brief views of the possible halimodendri lesser whitethroat. Moving round the estuary into Hayle we stopped off by the viaduct for an excellently close adult white-billed diver. Superb. Then it was back to the hotel for lunch, great morning.

After lunch I headed north, stopping briefly to try for the dusky warbler at Newquay. No joy. Last stop of the day was Stepper Point (just north of Padstow), walking down to the quarry I spotted some rock pipits feeding in fields. Presumably driven off the shore by the incredible waves being generated by the gale force southerlies (it was raining too!). At the quarry I was surprised to find that the gyr falcon was in residence. Superb bird. Also here a stonechat for the year. Good end to a great day.

6/3/07 Penzance, Hayle, Stithians Res. and Falmouth sunny, SW brisk
Kicked off by the boating lake at Penzance where a blackcap was hanging around near where we parked the car. On Love Lane the yellow-browed warbler performed well and here also my first chiffchaff of the year. The weather had drastically improved overnight and we actually got a bit sunburnt! We worked the seafront to Jubilee Pool hoping for the Pacific diver but no joy, just brief flight views of a Slavonian grebe and six superb great northerns.

At about eleven o’clock the pager informed us that the Franklin’s gull was again available at Hayle so we nipped up there and caught up with it from the platform at Lelant Station. A fantastic first-winter bird. Whilst in Hayle we sampled the excellent pasties and caught up with the white-billed diver (1), spotted sandpiper (1) and had the first common sandpiper of the year. Stopped off at Stithians on the way back to the hotel and had a superb adult summer red-necked grebe.

Seawatching from the balcony in the evening after a swim with the kids produced black-throated diver (1) and slavonian grebe (1). Another great day.

7/3/07 Newquay and Falmouth, Cornwall
An early morning visit to the dusky warbler at Newquay failed again so we all went to the beach and had a picnic on the clifftop. Eventually news drifted in on the pager that the bird was showing, so we drove up and after about 20 minutes I heard it calling in a nearby hedgeline and there it was. Great bird. Drove back to the hotel for more swimming and had a black guillemot (1) and great northern diver from the balcony in the afternoon.

8/3/07 Otterton and Beer (Devon) and Avonmouth (Avon)
The big drive home was punctuated with plenty of stops in the south-west. Managed to dip the cattle egret at Otterton (it had moved a mile away), but did get little egret (8) and kingfisher (1)) and the surf scoter at Beer (just four common scoter). Finally stopped off at Avonmouth but no sign of the ring-necked duck! [A ring-necked duck turned up a mile from our Falmouth hotel the next day!].

No comments:

Post a Comment