Friday 31 December 2010

Grey Phalarope at Tolcarne today, the final year tick of 2010

The final year tick of 2010 came today at Tolcarne beach, between Newlyn and Penzance.  In 2009 we were tripping over Grey Phalaropes on seawatches but this year has been a lean year for the species.  Yesterday my mate filmed four together here but I guess one is good enough !  The light was very dull and grey overcast, thus the images below look the same.  I was pleased with the flight shots given the low shutter speed.  With any luck, the light might be better tomorrow and with even more luck, this bird might stay for the New Year.

Finally, Happy New Year to all the readers of my blog.  Let's hope 2011 brings as many fantastic birds as 2010 did. 

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Total lunar eclipse this morning

I took these shots of the lunar eclipse this morning just outside Truro, away from the street light glare.

During a lunar eclipse the earth, sun and moon are almost exactly in line with each other. As they line up, the earth’s shadow passes across the surface of the full moon.

At first, the shadow appears as a tiny bite on one side of the moon, (shown in the first shot), before it engulfs the moon entirely (final image).

Once the moon has moved into the shadow it is lit by sunlight that passes through the earth’s atmosphere. The sunlight that hits the craters and plains of the lunar surface developes a strange reddish tinge, which appears brightest during the middle stages of the eclipse.

The process sarted in complete darkness and ended about an hour later in the freezing early mornig sunlight.  All in all, quite an experience and the first that I have seen properly in the UK.

Of interest, this is the first lunar eclipse since 1638 when an eclipse has occurred on the winter solstice!

Sunday 19 December 2010

Bitterns at Marazion Marsh, in numbers

I went to Marazion expecting to see two, maybe three Bitterns today, but was surprised to find at least six, and all within the space of ten minutes.  For some reason today they seemed to be showy and very flighty.  In two hours we had at least twenty views.  Given that the cold weather is due to continue, one can assume there could be even more.

Snipe at Marazion

Snipe are normally fairly illusive but the severe cold weather has meant that many birds are oblivious to humans and the Snipe at Marazion are no exception.  The only element missing is some snow !

Saturday 11 December 2010

Waxwings finally arrive in Cornwall

Half a dozen Waxwings have finally arrived in Cornwall this week.  The first was found in Saltash, followed by two pairs in Truro and Copperhouse on Thursday.  This stunning female below was found yesterday in the car park beside the Cornwall Farmers building at Wadebridge.  Hopefully more will arrive as they are stunning and so photogenic.


Killer on the loose

The news today that one of the Bitterns at Marazion was killed by another Bittern is extraordinary.  I took this shot last sunday and can only assume that this bird did not take kindly to another on its' territory.  The link is to Bob Sharples' image of the dead bird lying in the reeds after it was drowned by the dominant bird. LINK

Sanderling on Marazion beach

I took this image last week at low tide.  There were about 30 Sanderlings feeding at the water's edge and this individual paused just long enough for me to take the shot.

Friday 3 December 2010

Golden Plover at Godrevy

The temperature has at last risen today to +4 degrees and the weather at Godrevy this morning was positively balmy.  The ground must be hard elsewhere though as there were good numbers of Golden Plover foraging in the soft ground of the dunes.  There were also high numbers of Song Thrush today as well as a Snow Bunting and five Dunlin feeding in the far car park at Godrevy NT !

Sunday 28 November 2010

Common Snipe at Marazion Marsh

These shots were taken late this afternoon with some members of the CWT photography group.   This bird was unusually close and seen from the road overlooking the marsh.

White-out Brown Willy

Today saw temperatures drop to minus 6.5 degrees.  I managed to take this shot from Crowdy Reservoir looking towards the Cornish "peaks" of Rough Tor and Brown Willy. Large parts of the UK experienced heavy snow and blizzards this weekend.  The conditions are rare though in Cornwall at this time of year.

Drake Goldeneye on the Camel Estuary

This shot of a drake Goldeneye was taken this weekend at the Camel estuary.  A pair were present.  The water was still with barely a ripple, giving this nice reflection.   

Sunday 21 November 2010

Snow Bunting at the Folly, Marazion

This little stunner performed well this afternoon among the dog walkers, parked cars and sunday afternoon walkers.  Snow Buntings are so tame and this bird simply ignored everything going on around.

First winter Greenland White-fronted Goose at Copperhouse

This first year White-front has been present in the Hayle and Copperhouse area for the last couple weeks.  All grey geese records in Cornwall are unusual and the White-fronted Goose is no exception.  This individual originally arrived with a party of four but decided to stay and make friends with a pair of Canada Geese. 

 White-front is surprisingly small compared to the Canada Goose, as seen below.

Black-necked Grebes at Drift Reservoir

Having missed the Black-necked Grebe at Stithians today, these two were a very nice consolation at Drift.  They were always distant in the top corner of the northern arm of the res. 

Thursday 18 November 2010

American Robin in Devon

I took this image of the American Robin today at Turf, Devon.  After an hour's wait it eventually flew out of the large berry bush on the canal bank and settled for five minutes out in the open beside the field.  Sadly it was just too far away for frame fillers but still a pleasing bird to see. 

This was my best shot against a bright sky.  For the techies, the exposure was raised to +2 full stops.  This is my third record, with one on Scilly in 1976 and of course the Gwithian bird (later taken by a Sparrowhawk).

I'm sure Devon birders will correct me if wrong, but this is the fifth record for Devon, the last being way back in 1982 on Lundy Island.  The first for Devon was also on Lundy in October 1952 and this bird was the first for Britain.

American Robin is widely distributed throughout North America and Canada, wintering from Florida to central Mexico and along the Pacific Coast.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Best Bird Photo Competition

Below are six excellent entries into a photo competition where the winner will receive a Nikon camera rucksack worth £90. Last voting date is 30th November.  Please cast your vote in the Poll on the top left side of this blog.

1. Sandwich Tern at Marazion Beach, by Sam Williams.
2. Red Kite by Anthony Miners
3. Fledgling Buzzards near Wadebridge, by Edward Treverton.

4. Lapwing resting at Hayle Estuary, by John Richards.

5. Swallow taking a dip at Heligan Gardens, by Lesley Mitchell.

6. Wilson's Petrel off Scilly from the Sapphire Pelagic, by Joe Pender.