Friday, 25 February 2011

Glaucous x Herring Gull hybrid at Hayle Estuary

I found this unusual gull this morning at Hayle Estuary from the Old Quay Inn car park at high tide in misty conditions.  The jizz and pale colouring gives the appearance of a Glaucous Gull but the dark primaries sounded alarm bells.  Glaucous-winged Gull had been considered but primary pattern, bill colour and general jizz is wrong for that species.  Independent discussion with local gull enthusiasts have all confirmed this bird as a hybrid.

Thanks to John Chapple, Martin Elliot and Mashuq Ahmad for discussing the features.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Young Spoonbills at Walmsley Sanctuary

Three young Spoonbills have been wintering on the Camel Estuary and Walmsley Sanctuary.  They normally spend long periods of inactivity at the Sanctuary but on Sunday they were quite the opposite. The slate flagstones were used as convenient perches to practice some early forms of courtship, including carrying sticks, nesting material and some bill clapping.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Bar-tailed Godwits warming up

I stumbled on a flock of fifteen Bar-tailed Godwits at Marazion beach this week, which is quite a good count for this site.  I'm assuming these are early spring migrants.  One of them was already showing early signs of summer plumage. 

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

First winter, last winter Great Northern Diver in Carbis Bay

This pitiful young Great Northern Diver surely won't make it to adulthood.  The images show clearly the fishing line caught inside its' mouth, to such an extent that it is ripping the gape.  Images below also show the line has tightened round the back of the neck.  I also have a suspicion that the line is tangled round the left wing as a long sequence of shots showed that it cannot stretch the wing.

In the past, there has been an outcry about auks being tangled in nets in Carbis Bay - it looks very much like the issue is still with us.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Goosanders at St. Andrew's Pond, Par

Thirteen Goosanders were seen today at St. Andrew's Pond, near Par. 2011 has been an excellent year for this speices in Cornwall, with double figures recorded at several sites.

Swanning about in Cornwall

Mute Swan at Par beach pool

Adult Whooper Swan at Amble

Adult Bewick's Swan at Par beach pool

Bewick's Swan at Par beach pool compared to the Stithians birds

Adult bewick's Swan at Par beach pool

Every Bewick's Swan has a different bill pattern, similar to a human finger print.

These three adults (above)  and fourth adult below, are part of the original flock of eight at Stithians Res.  A close look at the bill pattern shows the Par bird to be a different individual.  There is a unique black mark on the Par bird's bill not shown in any of the adults above.