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.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

American Bittern at Walmsley Sanctuary

These distant shots were taken today from the Col. Ryves hide at Walmsley.  Adrian Langdon observed that it flew in from the Camel Estuary end of the sanctuary at first light and landed somewhere in the vast juncus and flag iris beds.  It took some two hours to locate it as it fed in the gulleys.  These shots were taken about 100 m away from the bird.  It did approach closer though to the main hide at midday.

There are now eight mainland Cornwall records; the Trewey and Walmsley records refer to the same individual, based on photos showing S1 flight feather not being fully grown. (per birdforum thread).  The last UK record was the 1999 bird at Walmsley and prior to that was the well twitched bird at Marton Mere in Lancashire in 1991.  American Bittern has therefore become a very rare vagrant and this is linked with its' general decline in numbers in its' breeding range.

Cornish records:

1871  One killed at Woodhill, Liskeard.
1873  One shot, Tresamble, Gwennap, Nr Redruth.
1906  A male with broken wing shot at Porthcurno Beach, Portscatho.
1927  One shot on Goss Moor.
1953  One shot, Stratton, Bude.
1977  7th - 25th Sept, Marazion Marsh and St Erth Valley.
1999  13th - 17th May 1999, Walmsley Sanctuary.
2010  26th - 31st Oct, Trewey Common.
2010  1st Nov - 2nd Nov. Walsmsley Sanctuary

During the breeding season, American Bittern ranges from the mid-United States to northern Canada. Its wintering range stretches from the south Atlantic coast across the Gulf coast, west to southern California and as far south as Central America and Cuba.


The above image shows the strange sky pointing behaviour which it adopted for a couple minutes.