Saturday, 11 April 2015

Back in Herts (30th March-10th April)

30th March:

I had no plans set after handing in my dissertation so despite having an excess of spare time I had yet to find something to do.  As it happens, Dan and his girlfriend were heading to Kent on the 30th so I cheekily sidled in for a lift.  We bundled all my household stuff in the car and headed off to my home back in Herts.  A quick nip past Stithians to fill the feeders took longer than expected but we still enjoyed decent views of the Slavonian Grebe, Reed Buntings and most of the other usual stuff.  Highlights from the car journey included 4+ Ravens and 5 Roe Deer (the bird list for the full journey totalled over 30 species despite poor weather and darkness falling).

31st March:

Back in Kings Langley now and have been patching and mothing regularly again.  My first day back greeted me with my first Swallow of the spring flying around the KL fisheries before moving north.  8+ Red Kites were circling around the valley despite very strong winds.

1st April:

Drake Teal on the KL fisheries, I think it's my first on patch!

2nd April:

I borrowed my brothers bike for the day with the intention of cycling to Stocker's Lake in search of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker that has been showing on a near daily basis.  Unfortunately, I had no success but other highlights included a Redshank perched on one of the tern rafts (a decent find for the area), 2 Oysetercatchers and 4 Goldeneye (1 drake, 3 females).  The Little Owls at Stockers Farms seem to have suddenly disappeared according to a local patcher as neither have been seen for about a month.  Exotics included the usual Black Swan and 2 Egyptian Geese lingering at the western edge of Stockers Lake and a drake Mandarin on the canal by Cassiobury.  Despite no sign of the Lesser Pecker all day, the definite highlight appeared whilst I was on the causeway overlooking it's favourite drumming tree, a Weasel cropped up in front of me in the short grass!  It checked the coast was clear before proceeding to bound ahead, stopping again, then leapt into the brambles on the other side of the grassy bank.  I gave up the search around mid-afternoon as I had to be back by 3pm but on returning to the bike realised to my dismay that the back tire was totally flat, damn!  There was nothing for it other than to do the gruelling 8 mile trek home pushing the bike beside me.  My first Brimstone of the year and a Fox hunting by the canal was some consolation.

4th April:

Record count of 107 Stock Dove on Kings Langley patch, 15 Yellowhammer, Little Owl, flyover Swallow and 1 Lapwing.

6th April:
Spent the day at Staines and had a good time scanning both basins for the full morning.

Staines Reservoir: 5 Avocet, Little Gull, 4+ Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red Kite, 3 Redshank, 2 Lapwing, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Swallow, 1 Brimstone, 4+ Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Peacock.

Avocets on the north basin

The drained north basin of Staines Reservoir

Staines Moor offered decent views of a sum plum Water Pipit that by chance happened to drop in at the River Colne whilst I was sat on the concrete bridge overlooking the moor in hope of some northward bound bird traffic.  Other bits and pieces included 2 Red Kites, 4+ Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 2 Lapwing, 1 Redshank, 1 Kingfisher, 18 Meadow Pipit, 2 Cetti's Warbler, 1 House Martin (my first of the year) and 5 Peacock.

That evening I was setting up the moth trap in the local woodland around 9pm when a Lapwing flew over giving its display flight calls, bizarre!

8th April:

Patching whilst walking Theo.  Had my first Yellow Wagtail of the year fly NE over Balls Pond Farm and the resident Little Owl was showing nicely.

9th April:

The target for the day was Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and the destination Withey Beds local nature reserve.  Ephraim and I woke up at 5am, set off half an hour later and arrived on site at 6:30am to be greeted with thick fog and a low temperature.  We weren't put-off though and began our search, wondering along the boardwalk and overlooking the neighbouring field.  The hours went past and when the fog finally lifted at c.9am, three other birders arrived and together we stood back and waited for the male to appear in its favourite drumming tree.  Finally, at around 10am we scored when the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker bounded in and began drumming on the upper dead branches!  Other highlights from the Withey Beds included 1 Snipe, 1 Water Rail, several Treecreepers running around, 2 Swallows and several Great Spotted Woodpeckers.  We also had a classy male Ring Ouzel fly north over Croxley Common Moor, 5 Mandarins (3 drakes, 2 females) on the canal at Cassiobury Park, and Green Woodpecker (completing a three woodpecker day!).  We also had our first Small Whites of the year at the moor.

10th April:

Patching produced a single Marsh Tit in Scatterdells Wood, 7 Yellowhammers a couple Linnets and my first Common Tern of the year flying north through the valley in Kings Langley.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Barely Been Birding (25th February-29th March)

The 1st win. cairii male Black Redstart was still lingering outside my bedroom window until the 22nd March.  It stayed for a total of 99 days!

1st March:

Walked down to Pendennis in the rain this afternoon with the intention of scanning through the gulls on the docks.  Looking back into the Carrick Roads revealed 1 Great Northern Diver towards Mylor and 3 Oystercatchers at Middle Point (on the east side of Pendennis).  Seawatching ended up taking up most of my time (after all it only involved resting my arse on the bench).  I lost count of the number of hours I was sat there...  Even so I only managed to rake in 1 Guillemot sat in Falmouth Bay, a Great Northern Diver off the point before finally scoring with the highlight, a Bonxie chasing a Kittiwake in the distance!  The pursuit only lasted a short while before it dropped in height and landed on the sea where it disappeared behind the swell. c.30 auks flew west through the bay and given the number of hours I was sat there several hundred Gannets must have passed through, few large flocks but a steady passage none the less.  Every few second would be punctuated by singles or pairs of Shags flying back towards St Anthony's whilst Kittiwakes were also moving westwards along with a single Fulmar.  13 Turnstone were scurrying around on the rocks below the point and a final check of the docks before the main gull roost started didn't reveal much other than the usual Herrings Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  I headed home a little sooner than planned as my cold and rain soaked clothes were getting to me (maybe I'm turning soft).  6 Buzzards and a Kestrel were also gliding over the Roseland (all visible within a single scope view!).

3rd March:

A pre-roost of 45+ Pied Wagtails on campus, very likely more out of view as the figure only refers to those visible and perched on the edge of the roof.

6th March:

Headed out to the Lizard with Dan - bit early for spring migrant activity but some nice bits nonetheless.

Helston Loe Pool:

2 Goosander (male and female)
10 Pochard
335 LBBGull
40 Herring Gull
40 Great Black-backed Gulls
11 Great Crested Grebe
1 Firecrest
2+ Goldcrest

Helston Boating Lake:

Iceland Gull (1w) in flight overhead
Whooper Swan
6 Shoveler

10+ Chiffchaff, Firecrest and 1 Siberian Chiffchaff at the sewage works

Lizard Point:

Gannets and Guillemots past in good numbers in a brief seawatch.

Stithians Res - from Stuart Hutchings Hide:

8+ Little Grebe
1 Slavonian Grebe
7 Great Crested Grebe 
(where did they suddenly spring from?! Including displaying)
5 Goldeneye 
(1 male, 4 females)
1 Little Egret

Southern cut-off:

2 Little Grebe (1 with a newt)
1 Snipe
1 Little Egret
3 Reed Bunting
1 Water Rail
4 Long-tailed Tit


32 Teal
18+ Redshank
3 Greenshank
8+ Mute Swan
8 Turnstone
1 Curlew
1 Little Grebe


craziest nest of the day goes to this Mute Swan seemingly oblivious to the road right next to it!

19th March:

Out in the garden this afternoon testing my set-up for tomorrow's eclipse (a pair of old bins pointed at a piece of card), very excited!

I was rather surprised to hear the long staying 1st win. male Black Redstart start calling quite regularly!  Just been reading up on them in an old 2006 Birdwatch mag (Issue 171) and both of the authors references explicitly stated they had never heard them calling whilst on migration but sometimes in winter.  2 Ravens also flew over whilst procrastinating from dissertation writing.

20th March:


2 Black Redstarts outside my bedroom window today (adult male and 1st win. male)!  First time I've seen the adult although it didn't hang around long.  The eclipse was nicely viewable from Falmouth today too with little cloud cover, very happy!

full eclipse!

the one-day stayer adult male Black Redstart

the long-staying 1st win. cairii male Black Restart

21st March:

Took a short revision break and spent the time down at Swanpool.  Did one and a half loops of the pool which produced the long staying 1st winter female Long-tailed Duck (now wearing down the browner tones around the face to reveal a whiter background).  Also 1 Great Crested Grebe, usual other wildfowl, 1 Water Rail calling from the reeds and 1 Small Tortoiseshell.  A terrapin sp. was hauled out on the raft in the NW corner of Swanpool and viewing offshore from the Hooked Cafe revealed a Grey Seal munching on a fish very close to the shoreline and surprisingly relaxed about the number of swimmers and human activity just around the corner.

Grey Seal

Back at Swanpool, a total of four other birders visited the site whist I was present, two of whom pointed me in the direction of the supposed RBGull but on thoroughly checking the place for the Nth time, all I could find at the spot they indicated was a RBGull look-alike which was in fact a 2nd win. Herring Gull.  Admittedly it did share a number of surprising features such as the very bright pink base to the bill and an obvious sharp black band around the tip.  Even the mantle wasn't uniform grey but patterned with an even distribution of older darker 1st gen feathers typical of 1st win. RBG. Dark streaking about the body and head was also very similar to the RBG that had been present earlier but in reality it was the same size and structure as the neighbouring HGs.  I must admit I'm now a little doubtful of some of the recent reports.

Also had a Small Tortoiseshell in the back garden.

22nd March

John St Ledger kindly offered me a lift in the morning down to Lizard and together we went around exploring the place in the hope of connecting with the local Dartford Warblers.  We struck with a nice singing male Dartford Warbler doing the occasional parachuting song flight and navigating the gorse bushes with a couple Stonechats.  I also managed to see my first 5 Wheatears of the year and had great close-up views of a Peregrine.  Also along the coastal footpath were 15+ Stonechat, 6 Skylark, 1 Sparrowhawk, 30+ Meadow Pipit and 2 Snipe. Seawatching off the point revealed 1 Red-throated Diver, 3+ Kittiwake, 10+ auk sp. (going west), 4 Fulmar and the cliffs below revealed 1 Black Redstart. 2+ Bottleneose Dolphins and 3 Grey Seals (1 at the point, 2 at Kynance) were also offshore.

Dartford Warbler


Cliffs at Kynance

26th March:

Finished my dissertation today so went directly to the coast after handing it in!

Swanpool: 1st win. female Long-tailed Duck, 1 Great Crested Grebe and the other usual stuff (still no sign of the RbGull)

Was most looking forward to sitting myself down at Pennance Point for a failed attempt at seawatching.  Scanning towards Maenporth revealed a distant eider sp. in the gloom (most likely the female Common) and a single Great Northern Diver.  Offshore 1,000's Herring Gulls roosting on the sea and about a dozen Fulmar skimming around distantly offshore.

27th March:

Went out in the horizontal rain today.  Not easy scanning offshore as a result but still scored with a stunning sum plum Slavonian Grebe off Gylly!  Usual Long-tailed Duck still present on Swanpool, female Eider in Swanpool Bay and a Great Northern Diver at the mouth of the Carrick Roads.  Did a short stint at seawatching from Pendennis Point but the fog beyond St Anthony's hampered attempts at picking out anything decent. In fact there was barely a single bird out there just half a dozen Gannets and 2 Shags...

29th March:

Rose earlish to attempt some patching despite forecast of inclement weather.  I was hoping that the strong W-SW winds had brought a decent gull into Castle Beach or something similar but I decided to aim for Swanpool first.  Just as I was walking around the corner of the hill at the northern end of Swanpool I could already make out a black a white duck dawdling around in the northern corner.  I was half expecting it to be the LtDuck but to my surprise I set eyes on a stunning drake Garganey!  The Long-tailed Duck was also still present.  It is simply remarkable how this little duck pond has cropped up a nice selection of wildfowl over the last few years.  Highlights have included 2 drk Garganey, 1 LtDuck, 2 Pintail, 2 drk Scaup etc. yet I have never set eyes on Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Shoveler or Gadwall at the site!

drake Garganey

Garganey with the Long-tailed Duck

Dan was fortunately back from France so we were both able to enjoy good views of the bird.  Next, we made our way to Pendennis Point (after a brief scan off Swanpool Beach were the female Eider was still lingering).  Seawatching from the point was nearly pointless so after half an hour of virtually nothing Dan left.  My persistence paid off when a close in Puffin flew west past the point!  I'm not sure how many individuals other observers have clocked over the years but it seems to be just about annual from land in Falmouth.  Nevertheless, it was my first ever from patch!  2 Guillemots and a Razorbill also passed the point as did 3 Sandwich Terns.

Other bits and pieces from the day include 5 Little Egrets, 2 Greenshank and a Redshank at Gorrangorras.  A brief stop at College and Argal Res's revealed 4 Goldeneye and my first 4 Sand Martins of the year at the former.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Biking Birder visits Falmouth! (23rd-24th February)

Had a great time meeting Gary Prescott (the Biking Birder) on his travels through Falmouth!  A great guy attempting to break the record for birds seen in Britain during the course of one year solely by bike and foot!

I rushed down to Maenporth on the 23rd around dusk to try and help locate the King Eider for Gary's list on his arrival in Falmouth.  Although a distant duck on the sea looked to fit the bill it was simply too dark and distant to be absolutely certain so a second visit the following morning was due.

Leaving around 8am from Dan's place on the 24th, we made our way back to Maenporth via Swanpool.  First up was the Long-tailed Duck and Ring-billed Gull which I'd confidently told Gary would still be there today thanks to their ongoing presence.  As such I was rather worried when all I could point out was the Ring-billed Gull with no initial sign of the LtDuck!  Thankfully, after several more minutes of scanning there was a sigh of relief when the 1st win Long-tailed Duck flew in and landed in its usual favoured corner.  In fact, this was my first time I had seen it in flight in all the 4 months it's been present so I'm beginning to wonder if it's getting a little more edgy and keener to leave.

Gary Prescott, Me and Dan

On to Maenporth... To begin with there was only the female Eider to be seen, along with 2 Great Northern Divers and a distant grebe sp. off Bream Cove.  It was a full hour or so until Gary came back from a brief scan lower along the cliff exclaiming he had 2 distant eiders (most likely the female Common and the 1st win drk King).  Being at Maenporth and looking south meant there was a great deal of glare from the sun on the water which had been disguising the bird.  Fortunately, walking a short distance south along the coastal footpath, we obtained much better views enabling us to confirm the ongoing presence of the King Eider! Brilliant!!

Note the rather conveniently placed camera bag over the jacket, now reads "King Birder"

Best of luck Gary for the rest of your adventures! I look forward to challenging your biking birding year list record in the near future!

The usual (17th-21st February)

The final day of my brother's brief visit to Cornwall came around but we were still determined to make the most of the last few hours.  A fairly early start on the 17th allowed Dan Ephraim and I enough time to quickly nip past Maenporth (via Swanpool in order to grab the Ring-billed Gull for the day from the car window), the King Eider wasn't showing but we were notified of it's ongoing presence by other birders on site an hour or so after we left.  We did see 2 Slavonian Grebes, 2 Ravens and the female Common Eider whilst we scanned from Bream Cove.  However, our main target was to track down the putative Spotted Sandpiper at the Budock Vean in the Helford Passage.  Video footage led us to believe it was possibly the real deal but despite investing a good amount of effort we were unable to relocate it.  Ephraim picked out a Great Northern Diver in the Passage though.  It was about time we headed in the direction of Truro as we were on a time schedule for Ephraim's train back to London.  A fruitful high tide visit to Devoran allowed us to finally add the Spotted Redshank to my brothers trip list (it was even the first I'd seen in Cornwall)!  A couple Bar-tailed Godwits, a few Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew and numerous Redshank (including the "diluted" paler individual).

Spotted Redshank

"diluted" Redshank amongst regular Redshank

Carnon Downs sewage works was our final stop before Truro station, allowing us to connect with numerous Chiffchaffs and the odd putative Sibe.  A possible Yellow-browed Warbler was also heard briefly by my brother and I but we weren't able to confirm its presence.  Once dropping my brother off at the station, Dan and I made our way back towards Malpas to try our luck for the Avocet that had been there earlier in the year.  As expected there was no sign of them but Dan did well to catch a brief view of a Great White Egret flying downriver!  Unfortunately, despite being notified immediately I was only able to get a poor hind view before it headed out of view behind the conifers lining the river bank.  Perhaps the highlight of the day came when Dan and I encountered a dense flock of 22+ Blue Tits (with a solitary Great Tit tagging on with them).  Tits are renowned for congregating in winter feeding flocks but this is the first time I've seen an almost exclusive flock of them numbering so highly!

Other bits and pieces since then include:

20th Feb:

Stithians Reservoir:

1 Slavonian Grebe
1 Goldeneye (fem)
40 Wigeon
15 Lapwing
2+ Little Egret
with Water Rail and 4 Reed Buntings at the feeders providing a great opportunity to try out some digi-scoping!

male Reed Bunting


female Chaffinch


c.40 Curlew
26 Redshank
7 Greenshank
2 Turnstone
41 Teal
3 Mallard
3+ Mute Swan etc
5 Little Grebe (1 appearing to be sum plum)

21st Feb:


1 Kingfisher on the rocks (later seen in flight across the middle of the bay)
1 Guillemot distant
4+ Gannet
Mediterranean Gull

Castle Beach:

2 Stonechat (m/f)
2 Black Redstart mm (ad male and a "paradoxus" (rarer dark form of the 1st winter male))
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
1 Chiffchaff
4+ Rock Pipit
1 Meadow Pipit
House Sparrow
4 Oystercatchers

Swanpool offshore:

2 Slavonian Grebe

On Swanpool:

1 Ring-billed Gull
1 Med Gull
1 Firecrest in holly half way along the eastern side near the bench
1 Long-tailed Duck
1 Water Rail in flight
1 vocal Coal Tit
1 Great Crested Grebe
vocal Jays in vicinity

Monday, 16 February 2015

Bro! (14th-16th February)

My brother Ephraim has come to stay with me for the past couple days!  Birding has been going brilliantly and we've far exceeded our expectations with very few hiccups along the way.

Ephraim arrived Friday (13th) evening so we both rose early the following morning for some local birding.  Opening the blinds Saturday morning revealed the long staying female Black Redstart hopping around on the neighbours roof.  Next, Dan kindly provided us with a lift to Stithians Res, picking up some tools en route to complete the work on the feeders.  Once we'd relocated the feeders across the clearing it wasn't long before the Reed Buntings and host of other garden birds were back again gorging themselves on the seed, nuts and fat balls.  The Slavonian Grebe and 93 Lapwing were still showing well from the Stuart Hutching's Hide and 2 Snipe were on the southern cutoff.

Our second destination for the day was Maenporth for the local rarity.  Fortunately, the 1st win drake King Eider was a doddle to find as it was lingering only 100m offshore still accompanying the female Common Eider.  Thanks to the stunning sunny weather 2 Peregrines also rose up over the cliff line and shot past us and a half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls flew through.  Simon kindly offered us a lift to our next query, the long-staying Long-tailed Duck which put on a semi-decent show at the northern end of Swanpool along with an adult Mediterranean Gull.

A final trudge along the coastal footpath towards Castle Beach resulted in us scoring with 3 Slavonian Grebes offshore and a Red-necked Grebe (the first since last years influx!).

Red-necked Grebe

Sunday dawned a little drearier than the day before but the overcast conditions provided Dan, Ephraim and I with decent views of the Pacific Diver in Mounts Bay off Longrock!  The key species for my brother's visit!  In addition, 6+ Great Northern Divers, 1 Slavonaian Grebe and a drake Eider were lingering in the bay.  Next up, (and my favourite bird for the day) was the stunning LITTLE BUNTING at Gulval which showed for us all after a half hours wait.

Little Bunting

Hayle was next on the cards and following the Water Pipit dip earlier in the week we managed to settle the situation by nailing it shortly after arriving at Copperhouse Creek!

Water Pipit

showing the nice white outer tail feathers

Monday (16th) started with an early lecture but all plans of working in the afternoon flew out the window with news of a Ring-billed Gull down at Swanpool.  The 1km rush down to patch paid off quickly with point blank views of the 1st winter Ring-billed Gull putting on a good performance half way along the east bank of the pool coming to bread and settling on the water barely 2m from the bank!  Back home, 2 Black Redstarts are now frequenting the neighbours roof!

Ring-billed Gull (thanks to Eph for letting me borrow his DSLR for a quick few snaps)

view through the scope!


(10th-13th February)

10th Feb:  Once again copied and pasted the past couple days of highlights with Dan. Off out of area again today, WeBS count on The Lizard and then an attempt at the Hayle Estuary stuff.

Loe Pool:

9 Great Crested Grebe
44 Pochard
11 Goosander 
(4 male, 7 female)
3 Shoveler
1 Water Rail 
8 Med Gull
21 Common Gull
381 Black-headed Gull
 (and assortment of Herring Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls)
1 Firecrest

All 11 Goosander

Helston Boating Lake:

1 Whooper Swan
10 Shoveler

Helston Sewage Works:

30+ Chiffchaff
3 Siberian Chiffchaff
1 Grey Wagtail

Our attempt at locating the Gwithian Snow Buntings failed but 6 Bottlenose Dolphins were nice to see as was 1 Great Northern Diver and 1000's of Gannets diving and milling around offshore.

A final stop at Hayle resulted in dipping the Water Pipit at Copperhouse Creek but scoring with a stunning adult Kumlien's Gull on the main estuary, thanks to Brad for putting us onto the bird!

This is what a cross section through a sand dune looks like when we throw away plastics.  A sad sight at Gwithian. 

adult Kumlien's Gull at Hayle

Thanks again to Dan for a great day out!

12th Feb:  Black Redstart still kicking around my backgarden.

Patching Pieces (21st January-9th February)

It's been fairly eventful recently with the Black Redstart still making regular visits to my back garden until early Feb (although I haven't seen it for the past few days so I assume it's moved on). I even managed to see it cough up a pellet one day after shaking it's head in frustration before a small ball rolled out of it's throat, quite fascinating!

A visit to Swanpool on the 24th January confirmed the ongoing presence of the 1st winter Long-tailed Duck, Great Crested Grebe and 2 Water Rails (one even grabbing a small Mullet from the stream!), 2 Ravens and a Chiffchaff. Swanpool Beach hosted 16 Turnstone, 1 Great Northern Diver and 15 Fulmar on the cliff face whilst Pendennis offered the usual 2 Whimbrel, 1 ad Mediterranean Gull, 1 Great Northern Diver and 3 Slavonian Grebes towards Castle Beach. A quick nip over to Stithians Reservoir produced 1 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Goldeneye, 4 Snipe and a selection of wildfowl.

A quick nip past the Penryn River on my way between home and campus on the 24th January produced a single Mediterranean Gull, 1 Greenshank, a couple Redshank, Curlew and half a dozen Teal.

Another brief return to the coast on the 27th January produced Long-tailed Duck, Great Northern Diver and 2 Slavonian Grebes yet it was only on our return home that we noticed the mega news of a King Eider reported in the neighbouring cove! Needless to say, Maenporth was our first destination the next morning.

The 28th January dawned with rain and overcast conditions and it was still dark when I left the house. Fortunately, on arrival we picked up the 1st winter drake KING EIDER (lingering offshore with a female Common Eider) shortly after arriving and enjoyed progressively better views as the day elapsed! An absolutely brilliant local bird which Dan was also keen to add to his Falmouth List so a short trek back to Pennance Point followed by a scan back across the bay allowed us the opportunity to view the bird from within patch limits too.  Other bits and pieces on the day include the usual 1st winter Long-tailed Duck and 1 Mediterranean Gull.

view into Falmouth Bay, the two small dots in the bottom right corner are the King Eider and Common Eider

1st winter drake King Eider

King Eider with female Common Eider

directions for anyone wanting to twitch the King Eider

30th January:  Helped lead an EcoSoc bird trip around Marazion.  Unfortunately no Starling murmurations as we had hoped but a couple Great Northern Divers offshore and 2 Bitterns in flight were nice to see.

1st Feb: Went shopping into town but had a cursory glance at Penryn River.  3 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Buzzards and 30 Teal being the highlights.

After a week of dissertation presentations full of rather hectic things going on I finally had the opportunity to head out on patch again for a proper spin around the area to double check on the reported absence of the King Eider.  Fortunately, I came across it again fairly easily lingering a short distance offshore loosely associated with a feeding group of Shags (there was no sign of the female Common Eider though).  However, conditions were a little choppy on the sea but that didn't discourage half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls, some Common Gulls and 1 Kittiwake from scouting the area.  2 Ravens also flew over and a Peregrine also showed nicely.  Other bits and pieces include 1 Redshank on the mud at the outlet channel at Maenporth, 1 Stonechat and the Long-tailed Duck at Swanpool.

8th Feb: Roseland with Matt Pearce, Dan Chaney and Greg Adams (highlights copied from the Falmouth Thread on BF)

Turnaware Point

Redshank, Kingfisher, 2+ Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker (h), 2 Common Gull, c.150 Lapwing in flight

St Just in Roseland

1 Whimbrel
3 Greenshank
1 Redshank
4 Curlew
2 Little Egret
and in the Carrick Roads -
27 Black-necked Grebes
3+ GN Diver
8 RB Merganser

Gerrans Bay from Pendower

10 Black-throated Diver
3 GN Diver
1 grebe sp. (probably Slavonian)

153 Skylark in the centre of the Roseland Peninsula, 2 Sparrowhawks circling over suitable nesting habitat and 2 Raven.

Probably timed it all wrong for Avocets at Malpas, but between Malpas and Truro 20+ Shelduck, 15+ Black-tailed Godwit, Mediterranean Gull.

Some phenology: Red Admiral at St Just in Roseland, Small Tortoiseshell at Pendower.  Lots Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming.

9th Feb: Stithians with Dan.  Juvenile Peregrine showing nicely on the mud in front of the hide and perching in the nearby trees on the banks of the reservoir.  1 Slavonian Grebe, 4 Snipe and 2 Goldeneye.