Saturday, 12 October 2013

Son of Sam and Saturday at Shustoke

I took Joy away to Cornwall for a few days birding and getting away from it all. Or at least that’s what I thought. We travelled down on Wednesday morning stopping at the Hayle Estuary. From the car park an Osprey was soaring over the estuary we were pleased – the local gulls weren’t! We walked down the very busy road were the Black-winged Stilt was performing really well. On the other side of the road there were lots of wildfowl mainly Wigeon and there were two Med Gulls amongst the hundreds of other gulls.

Black-winged Stilt, Hayle Estuary, Cornwall
From there we went straight to Pendeen to see what was passing. We had two Arctic Skua’s a few of both Manx and Balearic Shearwaters, 30 odd Common Scoter, 1000’s of Auk were passing as well as good numbers of Kittiwakes and Gannets.

We then when in search of the Wryneck that was present but didn’t connect. There was a Yellow-browed Warbler just down the road near St Just so we had search for that but the wind was so strong it was difficult to pick out the movement of Wood Pigeons! We soon had enough of that and headed back to Pendeen where we continued our seawatching. We were lucky to see a Sooty Shearwater and another Arctic Skua, but there was not as much passing as earlier, so we decided to try for the Wryneck again. As we were making our way back to the car we met Tom Perrin and Julian Allen from the Tame Valley. We walked along the coastal path to see a Snow Bunting then it was back for the Wryneck search.

Snow Bunting, Pendeen, Cornwall

As we were staking out the Wryneck I though that maybe it might be better to search out of the wind. There we were joined by another birder from Solihull who follows this blog, (never did ask his name). As we were chatting a passerine flicked up and immediately dived for cover, I didn’t get it in my bins but it looked like a very large warbler, but I thought there was a good chance it was the Wryneck and was seething I hadn’t had a better look, back at the b&b Joy dropped into the conversation that she had been impressed with the Wryneck. Puzzled I said what do you mean. I got a good look at it through my bins! she says. Now we have been married 34 years (yes, I married young) and she hasn’t learned that:

A: If you see a good bird, shout out and get me on it; or

B: If you see a good bird and don’t shout out, don’t tell me later, take the secret to your grave!!!!

Anyway, after a pleasant meal at the Dolphin Inn in Penzance, who should walk in but Julian and Tom, we finished our meal and joined them. I treated myself to a nice single malt Laphroig then spent the next ten minutes talking whisky.

The next morning we headed to Pendeen and as we approached I realised I was following Julians car! After 30 minutes sea watching was proving fruitless and with an approaching squall coming in we said our goodbyes and headed to the car, we had no soon sat down when the heavens opened. The wind was very strong, so we decided that we would travel up the coast to Zenor to search for Turtle Dove, we had a look around the village church but drew a blank. The Julian and Tom turned up! We eventually located the Turtle Dove, a rare bird nowadays.

We then headed for the Cot Valley and spend the rest of the day staking out another Yellow-browed which didn’t show. As we were there, a passing car, stopped wound down his window and asked what we were looking for. I though I recognise that face, Ian Kendal, who worked at RSPB Sandwell Valley back in the day. It was the first time in around 10 years that I had seen him. The rest of the day proved fruitless.

Friday morning saw us return to Pendeen, were we met “Ian Kendal”! He was birding the fields so we left him to do a little sea watching, as we pulled up two Peregrines were hanging in the wind just above the car giving superb views. There were still a few Balearic Shearwaters and another couple of Arctic Skua but the wind was not quite right and very strong so we called it a day. We spend the rest of the morning in one of the Valleys near St Just’s were we had a few Chiffchaff, Blackcap and a Merlin.

We stopped briefly at Hayle see four Med Gull then we headed home.

Med Gull, Hayle Estuary, Cornwall

On Saturday I was dragged out shopping even though conditions were perfect for Shustoke – ie it was tipping down with rain, so it would be quiet! I eventually received a text about a couple of Rock Pipit. I got over and who should be there but Tom Perrin! I saw the Rock Pipit but a passing boat tacked in the wind and the sails cracked and the bird flew off! But at least I had seen it. There was a Common Tern and Arctic Tern plus a Ringed Plover seen, but I missed all those but as it tipped down and I headed home. There were a couple of Pochard and a Shoveler but I saw little else in the rain.

Rock Pipit, Shustoke Reservoir

No comments: