Friday 30 November 2012

Invasion of Bohemian Waxwings in Cornwall

The recent shift of weather from excessive rain last week to cold conditions this week has seen a relatively large invasion of Bohemian Waxwings in Cornwall.  At least 20 have been reported across the county.  This number is above the county average. Highlights have included ten at Cubert (29th Nov), two Wadebridge (29th), five Falmouth (29th), two Gerrans (29th) and one at Penzance on the 27th.  Seven were seen early this morning at Marlborough Crescent, Falmouth decreasing to five throughout the rest of the day.  (Images of these birds below).  Meanwhile, in other parts of the UK, scores have been moving south, with large numbers reaching the South Coast, the Midlands and central Wales.
Fingers crossed, we should see even more of these photogenic birds.

Notice the droppings stuck to the aerial!

Sunday 18 November 2012

Drake Long-tailed Duck at Carnsew Pool

This must be the most photographed Long-tailed Duck in the UK!  That said, when you look as smart as this, who can resist a few more shots.  This species is normally very scarce in Cornwall and even more so on sheltered "inland" pools.  This series was taken last Sunday but this weekend there is also news of an immature male at nearby St Gothians.

Little Grebe at Tresemple Pool, St Clement

I took these shots early this morning at Tresemple Pool, near Truro.  The site is well known for Little Grebe wintering here.  As long as you arrive before the dog walkers then the grebes can be quite confiding.  The light today was once again stunning and some nice reflections from autumn trees in the background can be had. Camera settings: ISO 125. Ap. F/5.6 WB Cloudy. Exp -0.3EV.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Second visit to Carnsew Pool

I couldn't resist another visit today to see the adult drake Long-tailed Duck at Carnsew Pool.  Eventually this stunner drifted close to us (15-20 yards) and I managed to get some very nice images.  On close inspection, some remaining feathers can be seen on the nape and presumably these are part of the summer plumage "Mohican" feathering which gives the bird the American name of Oldsquaw.  The light was bright and gave the perfect conditions for photography.  The image below was taken with D3x and 600mm lens.  F/7.1 Exposure -0.3 EV. ISO 200. WB Cloudy.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Red-breasted Flycatcher at Cot Valley, St Just

The second Red-breasted Flycatcher of the Autumn was found on Tuesday next to Carralack House in Cot Valley.  This first-year bird eventually showed well today but it was very active, mainly feeding in the high canopy.  RB Fly is a regular but scarce passage migrant in the Autumn in Cornwall.  The majority of records are found in West Cornwall in October, occasionally in November.  This record is thus relatively late.  The species is exceptionally rare in Spring in Cornwall.  It breeds in eastern Europe and Scandinavia, eastwards towards Asia. It winters in south Asia.   The images below were taken today:

Long-tailed Duck at Carnsew Pool

A drake Long-tailed Duck was found at Carnsew Pool on Monday this week.  Monty called me yesterday to let me know it was showing well and fairly confiding.  Today it was happier to stay out in the middle of the pool so the views weren't quite as good as yesterday.  That said, this is a stunning bird to see and well worth a visit this weekend.  In Cornwall this species is classed as a scarce or uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor.  Numbers fluctuate annually and a good year  would see no more than a handful of records in Cornwall.  Most popular sites to see this species are Mount's Bay, Gerrans Bay, Carbis Bay and Sennen.  Thus to see this bird "inland" at Carnsew Pool is indeed unusual.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Early Waxwing "invasion"

With the first snow fall of the winter comes some unexpected and early Waxwings in the county. The snowfall today was England's fifth fall in nine days amid an early winter - after snow in the East last Saturday, in the West on Thursday and the North on Friday and Saturday. 
Two Waxwings were seen today in Mylor Harbour churchyard feeding on yew berries.  Another could not have been further west than in Victoria Row, St Just today.  Another was also seen in the east of the county at Saltash.  Along with many other Waxwings in southern England, presumably they are heading further south towards France and Spain.