Saturday, 25 March 2017

Greater White-fronted Goose at Par beach pool

A Greater White-fronted Goose was found at Par on Friday 17th March, in the fields to the east of the bay.  I saw it with Royston Wilkins on Sunday 19th feeding on the grass at the edge of Par beach pool.  It gave stunning views. 
This individual has been identified as the more unusual European albifrons form, rather than the flavirostris race which comes from Greenland. Back in the 60's when a flock of white fronts over wintered at Walmsley Sanctuary, these were assigned to the albifrons race. Sadly this flock has now disappeared and we only now get occasional sightings in the county. Albifrons can be identified by the orange legs and pink bill, and less black belly markings than flavirostris. 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Iceland Gulls at Hayle and St Gothians today

Today was a gull day starting with the first winter Bonaparte's Gull at Helston.  I wanted to get a decent flight shot but failed. And when a Hawk jet took off from Culdrose, that ended my hopes. I went to Hayle and was shown a juv Iceland Gull by John Thomas. I then found another one close by only to be flushed by three Buzzards. 
Luck seemed to be changing though.  I ventured over to St Gothians and found a second year Iceland.  I better not say 2nd winter now as the gull police will shoot me down. This bird was sporting a pale iris, grey mantle and losing quite a lot of the coffee brown colours of a juv. I moved on from the island area and found a Little Ringed Plover at the western end of the reserve.  It soon flushed and spent a lot of the time flying around calling.  There was also a decent fall of a dozen Pied Wags.

Iceland Gull at St Gothians
Record shot of Bonaparte's Gull at Helston

Purple Sandpiper at Penzance

Monday, 13 March 2017

Bonaparte's Gull at Helston boating lake

Some images of the very confiding Bonaparte's Gull at the popular boating lake. As at Sunday 12th March it has been present for 8 days. Found by Tony Blunden, this is approximately the 42nd record for Cornwall.  A third of all Cornish records occur in March and April, so this bird fits the pattern nicely.  There are also a couple others in other parts of the UK and Ireland.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Costa Rica sightings update

We were delighted to find a pair of Elegant Trogons near the hotel.  I glimpsed what I thought was a female at the start of the trip so had an idea they were here. After some perseverance, we got lucky when a male flew across the road. It joined a female. This species seems very shy and too keen to hide away.  I managed one half decent record shot though.

Ad male Elegant Trogon


Saturday, 25 February 2017

Costa Rica sightings update for the last few days

The last few days has been busy with ticks found every day.  A visit to the Rincon Rain Forest was well worth it with many great speciality birds seen.  Better still there was no rain as the cloud was well above the volcano. Perfect, though humidity is still very high. Top birds were Long-tailed Manikin, the Jurassic looking Crested Guan and Great Curassow, the intriguingly named Masked Tityra, several hummers including the stunning Blue-throated Goldentail, Lesser Greenlet, male Kentucky Warbler (a first for me) and perhaps the best of all was a Keel-billed Toucan.  Today we also found a pair of Pale-billed Woodpeckers and Boat-billed Kiskadee.  Sadly I couldn't get images of them all as tropical rainforest birding is tricky, let alone papping.

Coppery-headed Emerald

Green Violetear visiting a nectar feeder

Green-crowned Brilliant

Male Streak-backed Oriole

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Costa Rica sightings update

There are daily surprises here at Guanacaste, Costa Rica.  Ticks seem to come regularly.  Today we found the endemic Dark Pewee, some way out of its normal range as well, so I was well pleased with that. We also found Stripe-headed Sparrow and Scrub Euphonia, a brand new bird family for us. We had good views of the normally shy Mangrove Cuckoo and eye level views of Cinnamon Hummingbird.  A pair of Pacific Screech Owls are giving lovely views roosting in a tree on the beach!

Cinnamon Hummingbird

Dark Pewee

Stripe-headed Sparrow.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Costa Rica sightings

We visited the Monteverde rain forest with the intention of seeing some hummingbirds and tropical specialities. We saw plenty of the former though sadly missed the quetzal.  New birds continue on a daily basis plus many familiar North American species wintering here turn up regularly.  There are plenty of Yellow Warblers wintering here and we had some stunning views of a group of four Prothonotary Warblers.  The Black and White Warbler seems to turn up everywhere.  The bright green parrots take some sorting but I reckon we have seen about five species. We saw the endemic Sooty Thrush in the rain forest but the hummers stand out as something special.  Of the hummingbirds, we have seen Violet Sabrewing, White-necked Jacobin, Plain-capped Starthroat, Cinnamon, Ruby-throated, Green Violetear, Violet-headed, Steely-vented and a couple more still to id correctly.

Violet Sabrewing at Monteverde Rain Forest

Friday, 17 February 2017

Costa Rica sightings today

Today was a Trogon day with great views of the stunning Black-headed Trogon and also our first Elegant Trogan, albeit a slightly drab female.  Patsy also found the intriguingly named Northern Beardless Tyrannulet. Other goodies included one of my favourite Nearctic warblers: Prothonotary Warbler, a stunning male of course.  We also got to grips today with some hummingbirds. They are really difficult but we managed to id Cinnamon, Ruby-throated, Steely-vented and Plain-capped Starthroat.  We also found a Mangrove Cuckoo, which I was pleased with as we missed this species in Florida.
Photography is not the easiest as usually these birds are deep in forest canopy and the scene is quite dark. The first shot was taken with 3200 ISO.

Black-headed Trogon

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Birding in the Guanacaste area of Costa Rica today

Today's highlights included five Black-headed Trogons inc three males, three Turquoise-browed Motmots, Squirrel Cuckoo, Tropical Mockingbird, Black Hawk, Streak-backed Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Groove-billed Ani's and Hoffman's Woodpecker.  Off shore were about 50 Frigatebirds chasing flying fish along with a few Brown Booby and Brown Pelican.  The temperature here is in the 80-90's which sounds great which all but suspends effective birding from 10-3.

Fem Black-headed Trogon

Ad Crested Caracara

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Nice introduction to Costa Rica

We arrived for a two trip to Costa Rica yesterday.  Today's highlights are too many to mention but we did manage to find the stunning Turquoise-browed Motmot (incidentally the national bird of Nicaragua). We also saw some stunning Tropical Kingbirds, various orioles and hummingbirds.  I don't think there is time to find all 59 of the latter in this hot country. Anyway, here's a couple pics from today.

Turquoise-browed Motmot

Tropical Kingbird

Red-lorred Parrot eating a leaf