Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Where did I find the time?

I cannot believe how little time I have since I was set free. On Thursday night I found out there was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in Cornwall. I dismissed going for it, but Joy insisted that we go and spend a couple of days in Cornwall (something we try to do most years). After the life changing events of last Friday I though you know what, lets go for it.

We got up early and with no real urgency we made out way down the M5. We hadn’t got much past Exeter when we heard the bird had made it through the night – someone must have helped it. (Gladis Knight!). We arrived at Porthwarra at about 11am and it was murky with a combination of low cloud, fog and a steady drizzle. We followed the directions and three birders one of whom looked familiar appeared out of the gloom. Mr Archer looking like an extra from The Hobbit with full beard but minus axe. He put us on the correct bearing as with the visibility being that poor a compass was called for.

We eventually came across the crowd or gathering, the bird wasn’t showing and you could tell who had seen the bird and who hadn’t – the one’s that had were all talking – rather loudly! I managed to bite my lip for a while but eventually I turned round and asked if the bird was deaf, as I rather hoped that it was as I wouldn’t quite mind seeing it! Sarcasm just went over their heads and they carried on talking away!!!

Eventually after an hour a birder around a 100 yards away started waving and we made our way round to where he was standing and enjoyed great views of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo at one point it landed on a dry stone wall and just sat there for a minute of so. Joy really enjoyed it and gave me a peck on the cheek! Bob Duckhouse one of my flatmates from Shetland was there as well, unfortunately the rain returned so we made our way back to the car park.

We had a walk in Nanquidno valley then we went to Pendeen but the winds were wrong so with daylight at a premium we went to Drift where we walked to the hide and had good views of the female Ring Necked Duck.

We had booked a hotel room for the night at the Penzance Hotel. B&B normally costs £65 for two so at £85 I thought it would be a bit more comfortably. It was great, the staff couldn’t do enough for us there was an excellent restaurant and the breakfast was excellent. I will be staying there again.

The next day, we birded around the Hayle Estuary seeing a couple of Firecrest and a Lesser Yellowlegs plus a variety of other birds. Then we slowly made our way back stopping at a site in Devon where we saw Dartford Warbler.

We arrived home early evening having enjoyed a great weekend.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Porthgwarra, Cornwall

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