Sunday 18 March 2012

A flurry of Spring vagrants

Spring has certainly arrived with a decent flurry of vagrants this week.  The outstanding highlight was an all too brief, short stayer female Rock Thrush at Botallack.  It was found by Roy Phillips and seen three times in flight only.  Depending on your geographical persuasion, this is potentially the first for Cornwall.  The other record concerns a male on the Eddystone lighthouse (1963) though the island sits within the sea area Plymouth and is part of Devon.  For an unknown reason, this record is listed in Cornish birding journals.

An adult Night Heron was found in the stream by the wooden bridge at Kenidjack on Monday.  The same bird relocated to the duck pond at Polgigga and delighted many birders with exceptional views during the weekend.  (From an analysis of photo's, there is a single fawn coloured secondary feather showing on both birds).

A female Blue-winged Teal has been present for several days at Walmsley Sanctuary.  For new birders to the Cornish scene, this will be a welcome tick.  Finally, an Alpine Swift spent some time hawking over Lizard village today, ending what has been an incredible week.

(Add to the above, Lesser Yellowlegs at Torpoint, Surf Scoter in Mount's Bay, Ring-billed Gull at Drift and a Ring-necked Duck at Par as well!).

Saturday 17 March 2012

Birds and Butterflies Evening Event

This is a reminder that there is a digital slide and video show this Thursday 22nd March at Redruth.  There are still tickets remaining.  Please consider coming along.  As a taster, I have put a couple of Cornish vagrants seen last Autumn below as a "teaser".  See you there!

Footnote to the event:

The Carn Marth Trust protects and maintains the upper parts of Carn Marth where there is freedom of access for everyone. There is much flora and fauna, the coast to coast views from the summit are magnificent, as is the 360 degree panorama of Cornish landscape.

Over the years the Carn has been invaded by bracken and four years ago funding was obtained to commence a bracken control programme. This funding has now been used up but the Trust needs to continue the programme or all the good work will be undone. Once the bracken is cleared dormant seeds of native plants and flowers germinate. The flowering plants then attract insects and pollenators. These in turn attract birds and so on. The biodiversity of the whole area is richly improved.

John Chapple will be presenting a superb video on Butterflies of the South West and Steve Rogers will be presenting a digital "slide" show on the Birds of Cornwall of the last two years. Both speakers are offering their knowledge and skills free of charge in aid of this worthy cause.

Please support this evening by contacting Mel on the above number. Remember, there is a maximum of 50 persons on a first come, first served basis.

Drake Shoveler at Par

Just a handful of ducks now remain at Par beach pool including this drake Shoveler.  For some reason this bird has always chosen to stay at the back of the pool until this morning.  I managed to get this shot when it was about ten yards away.  The lens is very close to the water surface, hence the out of focus "boket" effect.  Aperture is F/5.6

The Goosanders have now departed the neighbouring St Andrew's Pool but I took this shot a couple weeks back.  After a review of the images, I overlooked this shot.

Female Goosander at St Andrew's Pool, Feb 2012.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Cornish breakers

Black and white conversion of breaking waves from a boat looking back towards the shore.

North Cornwall coast

I went out on an eight hour pelagic from Trevose Head to St Agnes Head on Wednesday. Ten university graduates completing a Marine Studies degree were monitoring seabird populations and invited me along.  Sue Sayer from the Cornwall Seal Group was also monitoring Atlantic Grey Seals. Its also a rare view to see the Cornish coastline from a mile out so readily accepted the offer.  The highlights were a couple Peregrines, several Guillemots and Razorbills, Sandwich Tern, scores of Oystercatchers on territory, 60 Kittiwakes, a Common Scoter and several seals, mostly females.  Perhaps its a bit early but next month numbers should increase greatly.  Below are some shots of the day.

Female Atlantic Grey "perescoping"

"Medallion Man" just returned to Newquay harbour

The different shade is actually a moult of older skin.

An unusual view looking back towards Trevose Head

Thursday 8 March 2012

Yellow-browed Warbler at Carnon Downs

I took this shot today of the resident Yellow-browed Warbler at Carnon Downs sewerage works.  It was calling all the time so not difficult to find.  This one has been ringed on the right leg and has been seen with at least two other birds. Another dozen or so Chiffy's were also present along with a couple greyer individuals.  The Chiffchaffs were singing and I was hoping that the Yellow-browed would start, but no such luck.