Sunday, 11 September 2016

Its Been a Month

Joy and I spent two and a half weeks on Tenerife where we basically chilled out in what has been a stressful year so far. We did a bit of birding but didn’t over do it as there are few bird species available. In fact we only managed 49 species – but as usual the quality was high.

Blue Chaffinch

Bertholts’s Pipit

In no particular order: Bolle’s Pigeon, White-tailed Laurel Pigeon, Spanish Sparrow, Monk Parakeet, Bertholts Pipit, Sardinian Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Plain Swift, Pallid Swift, Canary, Barbary Partridge, Barbary Falcon and thousands of Cory’s Shearwaters.

Back home and Tuesday saw me around the Reservoir where it was rather quiet. A phonecall from Bobby D regarding parking for Shetland saw us mulling over a possible trip to Cornwall for the day. Hudsonian Whimbrel and Dalmatian Pelican had been pulling at me for a while now, and the chance to share the costs proved too much. The outside chance of the Scillies Cliff Swallow relocated to Cornwall also played its part.

4.30am on Thursday we were off! Mammals were impressive with Bobby D seeing Badger, but the mammalian star was my and BD’s first Polecat which ran across the road near Maxstoke. The rest of the journey was uneventful apart from a Barn Owl which flew across the M5 somewhere in Somerset.

We eventually arrived at Helston at Loe Pool but as the Pelican had not been reported for a couple of days we weren’t particularly confident. We parked up and made our way to the south end where we searched in vain. We worked our way along the shoreline but drew a blank. We headed back to the car and were about to leave when I suggested that we try the north end on the off chance. Halfway down the hill we met a birder who had seen the bird, so it was just a straightforward walk and there it was beached up on a sand bar. Although the possibility that the bird will be accepted by the birding authorities is open to doubt, it was certainly impressive and worth the effort if in the area. Anyway, tick wise it is one for the back burner.
Dalmatian Pelican, Cornwall
It was only a short distance to the next site just outside Penzance where we parked on the street rather that pay £4 for parking! We worked out way around the coast and found the Hudsonian Whimbrel with two Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the tide line in a small cove. The birds immediately took flight where the lack of a white mark on the back was apparent. Fortunately the birds returned within a couple of minutes affording us really good views.

Hudsonian Whimbrel, Cornwall

By this time – 1pm I was starting to feel a little tired and the prospect of the drive home looked a little daunting. We returned to the car discussing our options when there was a commotion amongst the local birds, we looked up to see a raptor flying low overhead, it immediately looked different and it was Bob (bless him) who shouted HONEY BUZZARD. It was the best views I have ever had of Honey Buzzard and it was stunning.

To cut a long story short we decided to call it a day. As it was Bobs wife’s birthday it was probably a wise move on his part! We were back home by 7.10pm and I passed my family a mile from home as they were heading out for a curry and my tea was in the dog.

Fast forward to Saturday. I decided after tea to take a walk over Shustoke with Joy as the rain had stopped. We made our way round and picked up a 1st winter Little Gull the first good bird I have had for ages. We were up early on Sunday and the Little Gull was still present as we made our way around we found a Ruff and a Wheatear, so all in all not bad.

Spotted Flycatcher, Middleton RSPB
Having cancelled Sky Sports (too expensive) we went to Middleton RSPB where we saw a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Dunlin, 2 Curlew Sandpiper and a variety of other birds.