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Thursday, October 31, 2013

31st October

A fairly quiet day, although I did go and see the White-rumped Sandpiper at Long Rock Beach this morning. I also took Sally on a morning walk from our cottage at Treen to Porthgwarra. My intention wasn’t to see the Hermit Thrush that had been seen at around 8.00am.


The above photo  was my first record shot of the Hermit Thrush.


Porthgwarra and the belt of trees on the right half of the picture where the Hermit Thrush is being seen. Well that was until some impatient birders decided that they couldn’t wait for it to show so went in search of it. This caused the bird to move and was subsequently not seen for almost 5 hours, frustrating lots of birders who had travelled down.


Ideally everyone should stand on the roadside verge looking in. Not like those in the picture below and enter the wood on the car park side. This is the area the bird likes to feed in, and by entering cause it to move higher up the valley and out of sight.


The bird only returned when an organised flush moved the bird back to its favoured area.


White-rumped Sandpiper a sleep on the beach. Unfortunately a jogger coming the other way flushed the group and caused them to move further away. Good scope views were had but the light was to dull for photography. The plover on the left was also interesting. It jizz and colour was different to the other Ringed Plovers, in flight it was also different. It didn’t associate to closely with the other plovers.




Mediterranean Gull on Sennen Beach




There were no sea birds at Pendeen but a school of Dolphins performed quite well but distantly in poor light.



Not quite large enough to shelter under.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30th October

A fairly quiet day today with the winds swinging around to a SW direction and the rain eventually arriving at 1.00pm. First thing this morning I went to me usual stomping ground when spending autumn half term in Cornwall, the area around Lands End. The wind was quite brisk and the few Chiffchaffs ands Goldcrests that I did see were deep in cover. There was some visible migration that involved Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Chaffinch and Bramblings. Another reason for coming here was to hopefully see some Choughs. It  wasn’t long before a pair flew in and landed a short distance away. They are reasonably approachable so I managed to grab a few pictures before they  dropped over the cliff edge.

The rest of the day was spent walking along the coastal path east from Lamorna, returning to the car just before the rain set in. We then drove around stopping at various locations and scanning either the sea or scrub. The last port of call was Sennen Cove Car Park. Out in the Cove were quite a few gull, these included a 100 plus Kittiwakes, 4 Mediterranean Gulls. There was one large black-backed gull slightly lighter  than the Greater Black-backed gulls it was with. This gull struck immediately me as being something different. It had a huge white tertial cresent, large white mantle step and streaking on the head, neck and at least the upper part of its breast. Suddenly they all took to the air, an adult Pomarine Skua was causing havoc as it tried to get one of them to regurgitate some food. Once he had gone they settled back down on the sea. I however couldn’t relocate the gull again but picked out a 1st winter Great Northern Diver.

Lets hope tomorrow is a bit livelier.







Tuesday, October 29, 2013

29th October

I am glad this Hermit wasn’t a recluse.

Yes that is right a mega on mainland Cornwall. It was Sally’s birthday and it was going to be a day doing things she wanted to do. Things were going smoothly, we’d bought some rolls for a picnic lunch (no I am not a cheap-scape dinner is this evening). The phone rang as we were heading down Kenijack Valley, it was Dave. Now if he is calling it means something worth while is in the area. I pulled over at the side of the road by the sewage treatment works. He said “did you get my message” I said know, the signal in the valley’s is non-exisitent. He then uttered the words that totally changed my plans “Hermit Thrush Porthgwarra”. After a brief conversation I hung up, Sally said “ what is it” Hermit Thrush in Porthgwara not that she knew what one of those is but she new it was important. “We had better head there then” she said. Not being one to argue I turned the car around let the Land Rover Discovery go past, the driver had the same kind of expression I had. I new he had to be a birder and his next destination was going to be the same as mine. I couldn’t keep up at first but by the time I reached the houses in Portgwarra he was only just in front of me. We drove past a small group of birders peering into the small copse. I am glad we had got there within an hour of the news braking. I do hate big twitches. The little thrush didn’t disappoint and showed within 1 minute of me arriving at the small gathering. I enjoyed good views of it foraging on the ground before it hopped up into a wild privet and picked off the berries in a flycatcher fashion. I didn’t push Sally’s kind gesture  and was back with her within 30 minutes and off to enjoy the rest of the day with her. As we drove back down the lane almost every car heading towards the valley contained birders.











A Shag had to take evasive action time after time.




A flock of Oystercatchers watch from a safe spot






So the wind has brought the first mega. Even without a yank turning up the sea watching has been quite rewarding, this morning at Pendeen being know different to the previous couple of days.

Sooty Shearwater: 4

Balearic Shearwater: 58

Manx Shearwater: 32

Great Skua: 38

Pomarine Skua: 12

Arctic Skua: 24

Long-tailed Skua: 1

Arctic Tern: 1

Also seen 1000’s of Gannets, Auks and 100’s of Kittiwakes, I could locate the 2 Grey Phalaropes that flew past.

Monday, October 28, 2013

28th October

Well the winds were not as strong as I was expecting. It was however a day of fairly frequent showers with sunny spells. It was still hard to find any decent passerines, so sea watching at Pendeen was my first port of call, followed by shopping in M&S and Next in Hayle. This gave me the chance to bird the nearby estuary. Nothing out of the ordinary apart from a strange plumaged duck (see photo).

Sea Watching at Pendeen for 1.5 hours.

Sooty Shearwater (2)

Balearic Shearwater (18)

Manx Shearwater (12)

Great Skua (26)

Pomarine Skua (1 adult)

Long-tailed Skua (2)

Arctic Tern (1juv) 

Plus 1000’s of Gannets, 100’s of Kittiwakes, Razorbills and Guillemots.


Looking across Mounts Bay


I wonder who his parents were or is it just an abnormal plumage?





Sunday, October 27, 2013

27th October

Just a couple of things to report from a very blustery and showery Lands End Peninsular. The valleys that I visited first thing were really hard to bird due to the wind. I did flush a Woodcock from 60ft cover in Prothgwara. After that it was coastal birds and a sea watch over and after lunch.

Yelkouan Shearwater: A bird that didn’t show the characteristics that I am used to seeing on Manx or Balearic Shearwater flew past Pendeen Lighthouse at 12.20ish.

Balearic Shearwater: 6 singles flew past the lighthouse.

Sooty Shearwater: 8 flew past.

Great Skua: 7 flew through.

Pomarine Skua: 1 adult.

Long-tailed Skua: 2 birds seemed to really enjoy shearing in the deep troughs.

Puffin: 10 seen.

Razorbill and Guillemot: 100’s passed through in small parties.

Kittiwake: a small number passed through, I was expecting more.

Gannet: 10 of 000’s must have passed through today. They were on the move from dawn to dusk. 



My only passerine photo of the day, it was so hard to hold the camera steady.


Turbulent seas in the Pendeen area.






I normally sit on this step and take photos of the Sennen Cove Purple Sandpiper flock. I gave it a miss today, as did the sandpipers who were constantly being bombarded the waves.