Monday, 31 January 2011

140 at last......

Another day emptying dumpy bags of sand and gravel! I needed to get one more bird to reach 140 sp. before the end of January but couln'd escape the building work! Fortunately I'd run out of decent work gloves so had to go all the way to Penzance B&Q for some! Calling at Marazion en-route to see Reed Bunting (140)!!! Where theres a will theres a way, as they say! Might have to slow down in February a bit or divorce will be on the cards again!

Frozen hopes....

Sunday morning was put aside for another trip up county in hope of catching up with a few bits we missed at Bolventor during our earlier trip. Freezing conditions put all hopes of seeing the Lesser Scaup at Dozemary on hold as the entire pool was a sheet of ice! So Ash and I headed for Ninestones looking for Willow Tit. The sun had not yet broken into the valley and the only wildlife of note were deer, one Roe in particular gave great views as it paced up and down inside the cattle filed it had managed to get iteslf stuck in!
We decided to try Golitha Falls again for Treecreeper (138) and after about 15 minutes I finally caught up with one as it accompanied a small tit flock.
Happy with our year tick we decided to spend the rest of our time staking out the Willow Tits (139) and we didnt have to stray far from the car at Ninestones before we heard one calling. It proved elusive at first but fortunately continued to call until we saw it.
A quick call in at Colliford on the way back proved fruitless, so we spent the remainder of the morning photographing the RN Duck at Gwithian and trying in vain to see Reed Buntings there.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Stunning Ring-neck

I'm not a big fan of ducks in general but when a drake Ring-necked Duck (137)turns up on your local patch, you have to see it as a matter of principle. So after receiving texts from Tim and Ash, I managed a half hour in the freezing cold at St Gothian with the superb duck. Unfortunately I forgot to check the battery on my camera. Hence no photos!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Ringing at St Allen

Had a great morning at St Allen with Ash, Mark Grantham and others ringing finches and buntings. Highlight of the day without doubt were the five Yellowhammers (136) we caught, photographed by Ash below.

Garden Tick....

The building work does have advantages. It means Im out in the garden most of the day, which was ideal on Friday as a Firecrest flew past me while I was emptying the wheelbarrow! Garden tick number 96!.

Still playing catch up.........

Finally caught up with a few more species, some of which were harder than others! Balearic Shearwater (130) in Carbis Bay was one of the easier ones on 11th Jan, followed by a small flock of Linnet (131) on Copperhouse Pool. Still no sign of the Little Gull so another crack at Carbis Bay on the 15th in the hope of catching up on it proved fruitful with a Red-necked Grebe (132) close inshore. A Knot (133) was on the hayle estuary during the afternoon. On my return to St Ives the pager alerted me to a Glaucous Gull off Porthgwidden Beach. On my arrival there were very few larger gulls offshore but within a few minutes there were about 1000 Herring Gulls feeding in a frenzie on sprats. I was just thinking, "How the hell am i going to see a Glauc in amongst that lot?" when they all settled onto the water and the most right hand bird was the 2w Glaucous! (134). Typical, no camera!
The following day I eventually caught up with the Little Gull (135) in Carbis Bay (with thanks to Mark Halliday and Monty!).
With building work about to start at home, it may be a while before I get out again!!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Long Day in the field.....

Sunday started for me and Ash, before it got properly light with a woodcock over the A30 near Redruth. We soon reached Golia Falls, Bolventor in the hope of catching up with a few woodland specialities. Despite hearing Treecreeper on a few occasions we failed to see one! Nuthatches (118) were everywhere, as were Coal Tits (119). Jays (120) were also in abundance and we were lucky to see two Dippers (121), one of which was very obliging, singing from a rock under the bridge.
We then drove the short distance back to NineBridges to look for Willow Tit. No luck this time so a return trip will be on the cards. We did get great views of a pair of Green Woodpeckers (122) and a male Bullfinch (123). A Scan of Colliford Lake only produced a single Barnacle Goose (124) but we did have two White-fronted Geese flying over as we left Golia.
Par beach and Pool was our next destination. The Bittern (125) showed briefly in the reeds at the back of the pool and another Barnacle Goose was with the four Bar-headed Geese. The sea produced 8 Great-crested Grebes (126) but little else.
Ten or more Cirl Buntings (127) showed well on the Roseland Peninsular, including a very smart, un-ringed male.
En-route back to west Cornwall we called in at Tresillian to look for Avocets. Again our luck was out but a Black-tailed Godwit (128) on Tresemple Pool was a bonus. Finally, a cold hour at Men-an-Tol saw a single ringtailed Hen Harrier (129) drift into view.
A really good day, resulting in 79 species (not includuing Treecreeper and Greenfinch that we only heard!). We covered over 160 miles but didnt get a few of our target species. Maybe next time!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Catching up

A couple of days rushing round the west and Ive managed to catch up with the main birds in the area. Yesterday it was the Pacific Diver in Mounts Bay and more importantly i finally got my county Waxwing (112) tick. Superb bird at Treneer, Penzance showed extremely well, number 288. My next county tick was today at Stithians where i 'twitched' the 8 Bewick's Swans (113) that have been there for the past week or so. Four adults and four juvs. Very nice too. 289. Two Goldeneye were also on the reservoir (114)

Carbis Bay next where there was no sign of any Balearics but 8 Goosanders (115) were still present. The estuary turned up 6 Med Gulls (116), another 5 Goosanders and a Brent Goose.
Finally to Gwithian where I hoped to catch up with the Jack Snipe. No such luck but the Water Pipit (117)showed well!
Below are a few photos taken in the past few months. Grey Plover at Gwithian and Rock Pipit at Marazion.

New Year miscount!....

Oh no! Once i started writing out my yearlist I've realised that I wrote Greenshank down TWICE in my notebook, meaning I only actually saw 99 species on th Islands! Gutted! Should have tried harder for those Guillemots and Razorbills!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A Very Happy New Year!

When you get the opportunity to work on the Isles of Scilly over the new year period you just dont turn it down! So on December 31st I flew out of Penzance headed for St Mary's to spend five days. Lovely.

Anyway, to cut a long story of four days birding/working short, I managed to see 100 species! The first birder on the islands to reach a tonne in 2011. This was finally achieved this morning with a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Holy Vale, a scarce bird on Scilly and a Scilly tick for me. I got at least 6 Scilly tick during my visit including Waxwing, Eider, Red-breasted Merganser and three superb Long-eared Owl. Other good birds included Rose-coloured Starling, Spoonbill (2+), Firecrest (4+), Woodcock (lots!), Jack Snipe, Hooded Crow, Jackdaw (only three birds on Scilly!!), Brent and Pink-footed Geese and Long-tailed Duck. One-hundred species on the islands is a good total and even more so when you think i still havent seen a magpie!

Can't wait to go back in October!