Wednesday 27 October 2010

Green Heron at Heligan on day 21

After 21 days of non stop crowd-pulling, this stunning little nearctic heron continues to please.  Today I paid my second visit in perfect weather and light.  It performed well on the lower pond, exactly where it was first found by Bob Mitchell.  No more than half a dozen birders saw it today though being half term, hordes of yelling kids ran past though it barely flinched. 

Monday 25 October 2010

Best Bird Photo Competition

I am running a photo competition for all the bloggers out there!  I have managed to obtain a very nice Nikon camera rucksack/backpack worth £90 and this will be the winner's prize.  From the submitted entries, a simple voting system can be created within this Blogger site.  In other words, the readers of the blog cast their vote and thus become the judges.

1. Any wild bird photographed in the UK in 2010.
2. Image size should be no larger than 800x600 and no more than 500kb.
3. One image per person can be sent via email to
4. Images need to be received by 10th November and the competition will end on the 30th November.
5. The prize will only be sent to a UK address.
6. In the case of tie, then the tied images will be re-blogged for further voting.
7. No submitted images will appear on any other web sites or saved to alternative sites.
8. The winning image will be shown on swopticsphoto and not used for any other purpose.
9. Images should be 70% of the original, ie only a 30% crop.
10. swopticsphoto cannot be held responsible for unauthorised "right-clickers".

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Buff-breasted Sandpiper pt 2

These shots are the remainder of the set taken last week at Davidstow. 

Sunday 17 October 2010

First year Snow Bunting at Newlyn, Cornwall

This morning's light was stunningly clear and I was able to take some nicely focussed images of this very obliging Snow Bunting at Sandy Cove.  I'm assuming that given the amount of black in the wing feathers, this is a young male.

The images were taken with the 300mm F/2.8 VR and 1.4x teleconverter.  Tripod mounted.

First year Barred Warbler at Porthcurno

Barred Warblers are rare passage migrants in Cornwall.  There are only about 60 records and the majority of them occured in September and October.  Porthgwarra and Land's End are the most popular locations.  Barred Warbler breeds from Denmark and the Baltic south to Northern Italy and east towards Mongolia. It winters in Africa.

The photo above was taken today from the cliffside coastal footpath between Logan Rock and The Minack Theatre.  It preferred an area of scrub with Pittisporum trees and was quite obliging at times.

Thursday 14 October 2010

Red-breasted Flycatcher at Porthgwarra

This first year Red-breasted Flycatcher was photo'd today between the toilet block and doctor's garden at Porthgwarra. The species is an annual but scarce passage migrant through Cornwall with the bulk of records recorded in October.  Porthgwarra is by far the most popular site for the species and the elm trees behind the toilet block (Men's side) seem to be particularly attractive!

Saturday 9 October 2010

Green Heron at Heligan Gardens, Cornwall

The discovery of this Green Heron puts the cream on the cake of what has been a vintage year in Cornwall (so far).  Congratulations to Bob Mitchell on the find and certainly a bird that everyone would like on their PFL.

The first record in Britain and Europe was back on 27th October, 1889, when  one was shot at Hay Bottom, Pentewan, remarkably just a couple miles away from Heligan!  In the UK there are six accepted records and one from Ireland.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Davidstow

I eventually caught up with this first year Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Davidstow.  This is my fifth visit this autumn with the intention of seeing this bird though it, and/or others, are never there when I'm there.  That said, there is always a good chance of finding waders here so no visit is wasted.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper breeds in nothern Canada and Alaska and winters in Argentina in the pampas grasslands.  They are annual visitors to Cornwall and hardly a blank year goes by. This autumn there has been records from all over Europe so there must have been a job-lot displaced whilst migrating south from their breeding grounds.  

Sunday 3 October 2010

Siberian Stonechat at Nanquidno

This first year male Siberian Stonechat was found yesterday (2nd Oct) by John Hawkey at the entrance to Gurland Farm, Nanquidno.  It favoured the bramble and gorse clumps to the left of the track.  It ranged widely over the area and its territory was surprisingly large.  In fact it disappeared in the afternoon meaning some birders actually dipped.

The upper image just shows the pale peach coloured rump without any streaking or spotting.

Lapland Bunting at Sennen

This very obliging first year Lapland Bunting has been present for a week in the field between the coastguard houses and Treeve Common, Cornwall.  It was so tame and obliging that I had to stand back as it ventured towards my out of focus area!

Autumn 2010 has witnessed unprecedented numbers of Lapland Buntings, especially in the Northern Isles.  Cornwall has also recorded higher than average numbers.  It is believed that our birds originate from Greenland rather than Scandinavia, this being one of few passerines which regularly make a crossing of the North Atlantic.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Dotterel at Davidstow

It pays to recheck your original photo's.  I was browsing through the Davidstow Dotterel images from last week and must have overlooked this one.  I like the focus directly on the eye and the dew drops in the grass.

EXIF Detail: F/7.1  Shutter 1/100s.  ISO 400. Exposure -0.3EV with 0.3 EV added post processing. Focal length 840mm.