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Sunday, October 30, 2011

30th October

I am back from what was a mixed week, bird and weather wise down on the Lands End Peninsular. With most days having a band of persistent rain and showers moving through, it was a case of waiting for that to move off and then get out. With the winds light it also meant that there wasn’t any significant movement of sea birds. Scarce migrants were few, though there were Yellow-browed Warblers in some of the valleys along with Red-breasted Flycatcher and Wryneck. On the clearer nights it meant that the following morning saw a passage of  birds, mainly Chaffinches and Skylarks. However there were Bullfinches, Bramblings, Starlings and a few Reed Buntings. These birds would follow the north coast and then head off out over the sea in the direction of the states. At some point they would need to turn south or north-west so that they reach land rather than continue in a direction that would surely mean death.

On the rarebird front I did manage to see one lifer, a Bufflehead female on a small pond near the Lizard. I also had several good views of a Pallas’s Warbler at Porthgwarra. The most frustrating find was all to brief and one that I am sure others will disbelieve. I was birding the area around the cycle track that leads from Sennen to Lands End, an area that is my local patch while we stay at The Old Dairy. A Merlin was patrolling the area, looking for a tired migrant or not even a tired one. It had just flown a fairway off shore at had a finch species doing everything it could to evade capture. Fortunately after several close shaves the finch managed to get back over the mainland, where it then dropped down into cover. A good piece of entertainment, that had put everything on alert. My attention was drawn to two small birds that had popped up on a bush, Reed Buntings, not the typical habitat for them. Then about 2 metres away another bunting hopped up. It looked at first Reed Bunting like, apart from the fact that in all aspects it was much paler. Its primaries and secondaires were light brown, with obvious wingbars, the mantle was bodly maked, it’s underparts were very pale with very faint streaking on its flanks and its head pattern was also very light, with off-white eye and malar stripes.There appeared to be know obvious crown stripe either. Then before I could get much more on it or even raise the camera they were off. As it took off a faint pale rump was obvious. The birds gained height quickly and headed off out to sea, almost in the direction of the Isles of Scilly, on which Reed Buntings are rare. I hoped that it might be picked up on there, but no news came out. So Frustrating, but that is birding.

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Pallas’s Leaf Warbler

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Chough at Lands End (above) and in Nanquidno Valley (below)

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Common Buzzard being harried by a gull

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Sparrowhawk and crow

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Merlin female

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Sparrowhawk and crow

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Mediterranean Gull

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Great Northern Diver

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Rock Pipit(above)

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To see more from Cornwall click on the link below


News from the park while I have been away concerned three days in particular.

24th Woodcock: one landed near the Nature Study Centre, area 1 at 12.15pm.

25th Short-eared Owl: one flew over Queen Mary’s at 5.40am. Water Rail was back in the rail ditch.

28th Short-eared Owl: 2 flew west at 8.37am.

also seen that day 15000+ Wood Pigeons, 100 Goldfinches, 2000+ Starlings.


Friday, October 21, 2011

21st October

With the winds still coming from an unfavourable direction passage was again slow.

Lesser Redpoll: 16 birds passed through.

Siskin: 12 birds passed through, during the morning.

Meadow Pipit: 4 singles flew south-west.

Pied Wagtail: 16 birds in small groups headed west prior to 9.00am.

Grey Wagtails: 3 birds were around the lake.


The acorn harvest continues, the bird below has at least one in his crop.


Black-headed Gulls (below) can be seen clearing up food left after the waterfowl in area 35 have been fed.





I know that it looks as if I am always on holiday, it just happens to be the time of year that offers a good chance of finding something unusual. So I thought I would again ask for any interesting sighting to be left in the comments section while I enjoy a week away with my wife. We will be staying in our usual destination the Little Dairy, situated at Lands End.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

19th October

Yellow Hammer: one flew west at 8.05am, this is the first sighting since October 2005.

Skylark: one flew west at 9.05am.

Lesser Redpoll: two singles headed south.

Siskin: two flew west.

Pied Wagtail: a flock of 8 flew west.



Monday, October 17, 2011

17th October

The clear blue skies over the weekend and again this morning made it very difficult to pick out many birds on migration as they flew over the park. So the expected arrival of birds from the continent possibly went on, but unseen by me. The only birds of note on Saturday were 1 Swallow, 17 Lesser Redpolls and 8 Siskins. Sunday was even worse with only the odd Redpoll and a few Song Thrushes.

Todays news wasn’t much different with the exception of.

Common Crossbill: 2m flew SW over the old golf and tennis, area 39 at 9.35am.

Redwing: one was feeding on berries in the Hawthorn hedge and the fruit trees behind area 39.

Blackbird: 14 were feeding in the same area as the Redwing, more than likely these were birds from the continent.

Jackdaw: 7 birds flew through, 4 SW and 3 NW.

Meadow Pipit: 6 singles flew over.

Lesser Redpoll: 2 singles flew over.

Siskin: 3 flew SW.


Common Crossbill: not the best photo, but I had little time to focus on it.


Redwing (above) and Blackbird (below) feeding in the area 39.



Blackbird female on passage


One of the 7 Jackdaws that passed overhead


Jays are very active going to and fro collecting acorns




Another aerial dog fight takes place high overhead


Great spotted Woodpecker coming into land


Friday, October 14, 2011

14th October


The park didn’t quite have the XFactor today, the skies were just a little to clear to make picking up passage birds difficult. They were up there somewhere, though I did find some between 7.00am and 8.00am.

Wood Pigeon: 200 flew west.

Meadow Pipit: 12 birds in ones and two’s, some looked to land but no sooner as they touch down they were flushed by dog walkers.

Pied Wagtail: 4 fly overs.

Grey Wagtail: 3 flew west.

Fieldfare: twelve birds in small groups flew in from the north.

Redwing: 126 flew in a roughly westerly direction in small flocks.

Blackbird: None of the 4 very high flying single birds couldn’t be turned in to Ring Ouzels.

Song Thrush: 8 birds flew through.

Starling: 60 flew west in 2 flocks.

Siskin: 50 birds in small flocks flew south.

Lesser Redpoll: 4 single birds passed through.

Goldfinch: 46 birds passed through.

Jackdaw: one was perched in an Ash tree in area 1.

Sparrowhawk: 2m and 1f were seen, the males being harassed by crows.

Kestrel: one was also chased by crows.

Chiffchaff: 3 were heard.


Wood Pigeons fly past the BT tower


Fieldfares (above and below)



Sparrowhawk being hassled by a crow





Black-hgeaded Gull grabbing a snack