Tuesday, 30 October 2012

First Cornish Owl (27th October)

I forgot to mention I heard my first Tawny Owl Strix aluco last Saturday whilst in the kitchen, my first owl species for Cornwall!

Volunteering for the Wildlife Trust (29th October)

Another day of volunteering with the Wildlife Trust as part of my Environmental Science degree.  Our task for the day was to remove as much Cherry Laurel as possible from a local woodland as it was now choking the life out of all the other native species.  The dense canopy and acidic nature of the plant is unfavorable to the rest of the native species so naturally, we resorted to practical work once again sawing and lopping the trees down.  Unfortunately, due to the very fact that most of the native species had been out-competed  not a lot of birds were of note except 2 Siskin Carduelis spinus flying over and 2 Raven Corvus corax briefly glimpsed through the canopy whilst cronking overhead.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Local birding at another new patch (28th October)

I got up and left everyone still sleeping off their hangovers from last nights Halloween party and cycled the four miles down the road to Penarrow Point, a new local spot for me!  The birding started slowly, not very unusual, but as I was walking along the rocky shoreline  several Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis and Rock Pipits Antus petrosus did their attempt to appear rare some Mipits even going to the extent of fooling me by hopping around inside the bushes like the accompanying Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita some bizarre behaviour I haven't seen before!  Even the Robins Erithacus rubecula put me off for rarities  maybe it's just my brain trying desperately to string garden bird as megas!  A little further around the point and I finally found the first good birds for the day, 2 Firecrests Regulus ignicapillus working their way around the lower canopy at eye-level affording excellent views!  They performed well for some time before I decided to move on.  A brief shower followed by overcast skies brought in a few more good birds.  On my return along the beach, I found 5 Brent Geese Branta bernicla (4 adults, 1 1st-win.) paddling casually about near the shore, feeding occasionally on some sea-weed.  Apparently they're not very common in this area of Cornwall so I'm rather pleased to have them on my county list so soon!

 all 5 Brent Geese

one of the adults

A pewit call from the shoreline also announced my first 2 Lapwing Vanellus vanellus since my arrival in Cornwall (I haven't seen this bird since being in Herts so I was equally pleased to finally catch up on this greatly missed wader, just shows how much I took them for granted back home).  Anyway, other birds of note include 2 Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus, 1 Bar -tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica , 3 Siskin Carduelis spinus, a single Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus and a Grey Seal to top the day off.  In all, not a bad starting point for a local patch but I'm still desperate to set eyes on a self-found Yellow-browed Warbler which was true ambition for the day.

Friday, 26 October 2012

My first visit to the north east of the county! Rosenannon Downs (26th October)

Once again I was out with my fellow Environmental Students surveying the vegetation cover at Rosenannon Downs, a SSSI.  With our heads down, IDing the plants and measuring vegetation height for nearly all of our visit it was no surprise the only noteworthy bird I saw were 2 Ravens Corvus corax and a flock of 20+ probable Golden Plover in the distance.  The reason for our monitoring seems to be related to the poor state of the environment as the lack of grazing and appropriate swaling has resulted in undesirable dominant species such as purple moor-grass from proliferating and smothering the variety of other species that the diversity of life depends on.  The Wildlife Trust hope to recreate a different habitat that could host an array of plant species and rarer breeding birds such as Hen Harrier, Skylark and other classic heathland specialists.  With the data we collected, the managers hope to compare present with future results to compare the species diversity and the resultant impacts for the ecosystem to measure the changes that human management on the downs has brought about.  With my rant on about conservation over, a member from the Wildlife Trust kindly pointed out Devil's-bit Scabious and Bog Asphodel to me.  Two other birders on site remained later until dusk looking for Hen Harrier which had been reported only last night but I wasn't able to hang around to see the turn out as we were already on the minibus heading back to campus.

Even another E.S. Outing (25th October)

south east Lizard

Just about squeezed in five minutes of birding during a volunteering session down on the Lizard as part of my Environmental Science degree.  We were removing gorse from a SSSI site in order to recreate space for some rare plants but during the 50 minute lunch break I decided to run south along the coastal path about 2 miles south of Cadgwith to Church Cove in order to connect with a Yellow-browed Warbler which had been seen on some occasions during the past week or so.  It took about half an hour to reach so only had five minutes to have a quick dash around the site before running the 2 miles back up the path again.  Unsurprisingly my tick and run method (meant in literal terms) was unsuccessful only 2 Mediterranean Gulls Larus Melanocephalus seen from the quarry and a Raven Corvus corax near Cadgwith.  Diving Gannets Morus bassanus near the coast were a nice sight as were several Common Dog Violets (something I wasn't expecting to see in full flower during mid-late October!).

 Common Dog Violet (confirmation would be much appreciated)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Another E.S. Outing (23rd October)

This time all 8 of us Environmental Science students were down on Gylly Beach and Swanpool Point surveying the structured distribution of biodiversity and biotic life across a rocky shoreline.  Not much in terms of bird species unfortunately as there was dense fog and most of the time involved staring into rock pools, this brings us all back to the early days of childhood tottering about precariously over the coast bewildered by the array of life in a puddle.  Anyway, a few Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus flew past and we accidentally disturbed 1 Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula and a pos. Dunlin (with what appeared to be a rather long beak).  Still a very enjoyable day!

Swanpool Point

Environmental Science Field Trip! (22nd October)

A rather enjoyable combined Geography and Environmental Science field trip to Geevor Mine, near Pendeen, educated us all a lot in terms of the social way of life minors and their relatives lived as well as a study into the physical landscape.  However, the fact we were down a mine with no natural daylight did limit the species list for the day.  I managed to reach 18, with a Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros fly-catching from the mine-shaft being the highlight for the day!

Geevor Mine-shaft

possibly the worst record shot, I'll stop trying to come up with excuses

 Chun Down

Pendennis once again in the rain (21st October)

An early am start down at Pendennis to make the most of the last day of the weekend but the rewards were not very big at all.  I sat myself down on the Point after a failed walk around the woodland in search of Yellow-browed Warblers.  After some time of blankly staring out to sea, I noticed several dozen auk speeding past together in a tight group over a kilometer out.  However, it wasn't until 3 Guillemots Uria aalge flew close past to the headland that I finally realised the others must also have been Guillemots, a bonus bird and fresh on my Cornwall list!  The rain soon came down and the scene became rather depressing, only a few Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus brightened the mood.  A change of events however when I bumped into one of the local birders, John Sr Ledger, who kindly offered me shelter in his car as we stared out of the window attempting to ID anything that flew past.  A most unexpected source of entertainment soon flew in, Magpies Pica pica!  To be specific, colour ringed Magpies.  We spent much of the rest of the morning jumping in and out of the car, avoiding the heavier showers whilst attempting to photograph at least 3 colour ringed Magpies amongst a group of at least a dozen or so birds.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Finally the dips end! (18th October)

A long day ahead of me when I woke in the morning, I had a full day of statistics and long lectures but finally after the test I was free!  Only problem was I only had about an hour until darkness.  Good news awaited me on RBA when I got to the flat the Purple Heron, only a few hundred meters down the lane, had been reported again at about midday so I rushed down on my bike only to find an equally desolate reservoir as on my previous dip.  Obviously I avoided the muddy east bank (see my last post for reason stated previously) and wondered around the west side where I scanned the island and eastern bank from the bench.  Still no luck I decided to try and get a better view of the island so diverted a little form the track where the viewing was barely any better but after about ten minutes of scanning I suddenly came across the JUV. PURPLE HERON Ardea purpurea perched on the far eastern bank stood nearly motionless with its bill pointed at a sharp upward angle.  With only about fifteen minutes left of adequate light I could make out several key features eg. its striped neck, obvious yellow/orange bill colour and rusty orange coloured nape and back.  I was also impressed to say the least of the sight of 100's of Jackdaws Corvus monedula coming in to roost on the island calling loudly in a tight group and swirling about above my head.  Finally a really happy ending after all my dips (see previous post).

probably the worst ever shot of a Purple Heron

 College Reservoir overlooking the east bank and the island from the west bank

Jackdaws coming in to roost on the island at College Reservoir

This made me laugh yesterday, shame it wasn't a genuine one

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bogged down with dips (17th October)

Today was terrible in short!  I only got to bed by 3:30am this morning with essays due later in the day and I was desperately doing a crash course into Double-crested Cormorant ID in preparation for an early morning stint down at Swanpool to try and connect with the reported possible Double-crested Cormorant reported down there by non other than my lecturer Stuart Bearhop!  I was the only one on scene when the sun rose but it wasn't too difficult to confirm the absence of any unusual looking cormorant species (not sure if this counts as my first dip of the day?).  After a round of the reservoir I had still not found anything remotely good.  The mood was brightener greatly when I bumped into Lawrence a third year student also studying at Exeter Uni Cornwall Campus and together we did a second route around the pool only to see 2 Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus flushed up by a careless dog walker.  Our next attempt was to try and connect with the Yellow-browed Warbler in the relatively nearby woodland at Swanvale.  We trudged through the wood at a slow pace waiting for its call but me with my inexperience of Y-bW calls I didn't pick up the two notes it gave that Lawrence managed to hear (I blame my inexperience on Herts with only 4 previous records).  My second dip of the day.  I had to be back by 11am for a tutorial so left Lawrence who later texted me of the news of a Purple Heron at College Reservoir  this was literally only a few hundred meters down the road!  I got the bike and sped to the sight as quickly as possible only to realise I was the only birder present.  I scanned for a while from the dam before drawing a blank.  Next, I decided to check the small section of reedbed north of the reservoir but nothing there either.  For my third approach, I climbed up some of the fields to try and get a view over the southern end of the lake but this was also unsuccessful so I resorted to tramping all the way round the western edge were I also couldn't relocate the bird.  This ordeal was getting rather exasperating, I needed a tick and fast!  From the western bank I noticed two birders intently staring at the eastern facing side of the island so quickly hurried back all the way back bypassing the dam and down the muddy track on the eastern side.  It got worse and worse as the mud turned into a bog but I couldn't give up now.  Sacrificing by shoes and lower half of the trousers, I kept going until I realised it was an absolutely ludicrous idea there was no way I could get any further.  I returned soiled in mud back to the dam (pun intended) for a rethink and plan my next strategy of attack.  This was equally unsuccessful as I decided to cycle down the western edge of the reservoir once again and retrace my steps northwards on the eastern edge.  I got to the southern tip of the reservoir but with some gunshots going off in the near vicinity I didn't want to trespass over the farmland to try and reach the area where the other two birders were stood (I still have no idea in the slightest how they ever reached that spot).  Finally and very frustratingly I decided to dip it was time to return to Uni, knuckle down and do some statistics.

Birding during Uni time?! (15th October)

I'll be honest, I've been birding during uni.  It isn't as bad as it sounds as it was infact part of the course as a group of us Environmental Scientists and Zoologists took the bus down to the Hayle Estuary with our lecturer Stuart Bearhop.  We arrived on sight (a train station overlooking the estuary) where we set up our scopes and scanned the mud for birds.  The usual array of wetland species were present way in the distance resting whilst the tide remained way out in the distance.  We did manage to get a few good birds including Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica and Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa as well as my first Redwing Turdus iliacus of the autumn (they certainly made my day!).  Also saw 1 Red Admiral, they seem to be able to last the longest as the temperatures are now beginning to fall.  Our next task after was to record the number of successful feeds a wader would make to measure the ecological importance of the birds we had seen.  Our group chose a relatively nearby Curlew Numenius arquata as our target and observed it as it fed, picking small crustaceans and worms from the mud, Environmental Science students will point out numerous issues with the way we sampled our data but it wasn't as bad a beginner who called a Ross's Gull (we were given the large Collin's Guides to a majority who had no clue how to ID a Chaffinch, It was an accident waiting to happen!).  Thankfully our lecturer soon put them right.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Shopping Diversion (14th October)

News in Falmouth of a Yellow-browed Warbler got me cycling into town as soon as I heard the news with the intention of bypassing the shops on the way back so it was all worth while.  I arrived at Swanvale about midday and walked up and down the path, including the small road leading along the west side of Swanpool but could not find any trace of the warbler.  Only a few fleeting glimpses of what could have been phyllo warbler at the southern most extent of the willows near the car park at Swanpool.  Walking back however, I got partial compensation for my prolonged "pishing" efforts and a stonking Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus pooped out from cover, very close to where I was stood, so it wasn't all in vein.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Local Patch Success (13th October)

Maybe the title is a big over exaggeration but I found a brilliant relatively local patch today 5 miles south of Penryn.  Rosemullion Head.  It certainly seems to have the potential to draw in a few migrants with its attractive hedgerows and surrounding pastoral farmland surrounded by the occasional rocky wall.  Most importantly, from a migrants perspective however  is the fact it's a headland that juts out a fair distance, a little further south than Pendennis Point and Pennance Point.  Despite my first good impressions of the place there weren't a great deal of good birds of note but I'm sure the area will have its good days.  Only 1 Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe to report along with a few Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita accompanying 1 Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla (the first one I've seen in a long time).  Also a few Buzzards Buteo buteo flying about around the coastline whilst 2 Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus passed the point.  Best of all, however, is the fact its isolated from most of the tourists and it seems the perfect spot to find ones own rarities, scarcities and what have you.  Also of note were a few remaining Red Admirals, Speckled Wood and 1 Large White.  My excuse for not turning up any better birds lies in the fact the weather was brilliant with blue skies making migration irresistible to the would be tired migrants from the continent.  The occasional flyover Skylark Alauda arvensis and dozens of Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis  pay testament to my hypothesis.  A westerly wind didn't help improve the situation so the only signs of continental migrants were in the form of Jays Garrulus glandarius, and plenty of them too!  Most surprising was an individual with an upper mandible almost twice the length of the lower.  Further more, this large difference in size had evidently caused the beak to become skewed as the longer upper mandible bent subtly to the right (from the birds perspective) and visa versa for the lower mandible (almost like a Crossbill), a rather unusual malformity I have never seen before, have you?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Jays (11th October)

A little bit of excitement on Birdforum as to the recent influx of Jays from the continent.  Naturally it has taken Cornwall a little longer to feel the effects of this surge of birds as it lies to the far west of the country, one of the furthest distances from the closest crossing from the continent in Kent.  Not sure whether "my" 2 Jays Garrulus glandarius that I saw near the campus today were part of this influx but I always like to dream that they've flown all the way from Scandinavia, or central Europe.  Proof I can day-dream.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Uni commitments in the morning but the afternoon was free so I was off down to the Lizard for some quality birding on a relatively local patch.  It took a 10 mile bike ride from Penryn to Helston before catching a bus down to the Lizard to finally arrive within striking distance of the Paddyfield Warbler now remaining for its third day.

 stunning coastline

 looking towards The Lizard

I got off a stop late unfortunately so had to run from near the lighthouse all the way north along the coastal path to reach the cove, not before falling into the mud and mud-skiing down the slopes (not as fun as it sounds with a steep drop to ones death if you take a false step or slide for that matter).  Anyway, I arrived on seen with an audience of 3 twitchers, I had missed its last appearance by about a minute.  Thankfully after the considerable effort I had invested the PADDYFIELD WARBLER Acrocephalus agricola popped out of cover and showed amazingly (on a warblers standards!) and we enjoyed relatively good views as it hoped around in the low bracken, occasionally climbing some of the stems and showing its tattered plumage off to our delighted eyes! A few digi-scope shots don't pay testament to its good behaviour. (lifer number 1).

a rather good digi-scope shot I think of the Paddyfield Warbler!

eyeing me through the foliage

Features of note I had not previously seen in the books include a faint/thin streaking on the cap.  News soon broke on one of the twitchers pager (I currently rely entirely on other peoples knowledge as I don't have a pager myself) that an Ortolan Bunting had turned up back a Housel Bay!  I had literary just run past the spot on the way to the warbler.  Back along the mud track I went where I managed to pick out two birders wandering around a stubble field.  Running the last leg of the journey I arrived to some negative news (the news any twitcher dreads), NO SIGN.  As I was asking a lady about its last whereabouts I noticed something interesting moving along the hedgerow over her should, I raised my bins it was a "SHRIKE!"  Quickly got the scope out and soon had it IDed as a 1st win. RED-BACKED SHRIKE Lanius collurio, I thought I had just self found my own shrike when the man came up and said, ooh that's been here ages (or words to that effect), a little downcast after such a brief flurry of excitement   Anyway, the bird showed incredibly well, up to 20 feet away making it possible to study the exact detail of the plumage, in short it was a stunner!

Red-backed Shrike, the stunner! the complicated plumage make this an even more interesting bird in my opinion to the stonking males

a picture is worth more than a thousand words

down to earth again, looking for the Ortolan, can any of you see it?  You shouldn't be able to we're looking in the wrong field!

My afternoons excursion was becoming rather productive the only nagging feeling of the not-yet-seen Ortolan was on my mind.  Then the totally unexpected happened, LGRE appeared over the hill.  Within moments he was on the scene  I had already done a thorough check of the two adjacent fields for the bunting a fruitless search but with Lee on the cards I hoped for the best.  Together, we tramped over the fields once again before I followed Lee in our search of some of the other stubble fields on the opposite side of the road.  Nothing.  2 Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe were the only birds I could find before I headed back into town (I had to look at the bus timetable in preparation for my return).  A final return to the stubble fields as I had a few hours to spare.  I was walking back through one of the fields I had just come through, passed Lee again and a few seconds later I had the ORTOLAN BUNTING Emberiza hortulana perched totally unexpectedly on the top of on of the banks covered in bramble.  I scrambled for my camera and phone trying to call Lee and digi-scope the bird simultaneously (not recommended)  but couldn't get through there was no reception!  I did the unthinkable and sprinted fast away from the bird shouted to the closest birder who shouted even further up the street for Lee and within seconds most of the twitchers were on seen and basking in the joy of seeing the Ortolan.

finally, hard work searching is rewarded with my first ever Ortolan Bunting, even better when your the one who refound it!

When I say most, two other birders blissfully unaware of the news were still wandering around some of the fields quite a distance away.  I did the unthinkable again, sprinted down the road to get them but on my return the bird had gone.  It was once again up to me to relocate it, whilst the small crowd of twitchers overlooked the bank, I climbed on top in the hope of locating it on the other side, the onlookers managed to see it again perched on to for some time, but me standing only 30 feet away had no idea where it was.  It took some time again, following another period off blankness until I finally realised it was perched on the opposite side of the bank to the twitchers only I could see it perched on the bramble.  Unfortunately this was the last I saw of it as I signaled to the other birders, it decided to fly some distance over the stubble towards the town were we lost it.  In all, a rather exciting experience to relocate the bunting against all the odds!  Also very nice to get a thorough praising from Lee shaking my hand vigorously for the year tick I'd just got him!(it was a pleasure if you are reading this post Lee).  I was in the same state of shock, it was a lifer for me!  Now the dreaded bus trip back, followed by another 10 mile bike trip from Helston back to Uni.  To convince myself I wasn't dreaming, I took a final walk down one of the country lanes in a half-hearted attempt looking for Yellow-browed Warbler.  No success.  My final memory of the day was cycling back in the rain, fog and dark tasting the salty sweat on my lips, it was the taste of SUCCESS!!!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

7 RED-RUMPS! (6th October)

St Michael's Mount again

a load more photos of the Mount (not sure I'll ever get tired of adding them to my Marazion trip reports)

Another visit to Marazion, exactly a week after dipping the Spotted Crake at the exact same location.  I arrived on sight (as early as is possible by bus) at 8:40am and immediately connected with the 7 RED-RUMPED SWALLOWS Cecropis daurica fly-catching over the marsh!  Don't we all wish twitching was that easy.  For the next 40-50mins I had enjoyable views as they circled our heads, maneuvering about in the air much like other hirundines (albeit a slightly different jizz to the Barn Swallows).  In fact, the Red-rumps represented 100% of the hirundines present!

one of seven Red-rumped Swallows at Marazion Marsh RSPB, photos of random individuals (finally a non-landscape photo!)

Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica only began to turn up later in the day as ones and twos began trickling through, soon picking up into double figures later in the afternoon.  With such a big success so soon in the day, I had the rest of the day off to trudge up and down Mount's Bay.  Here, I encountered several dozen Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, lesser numbers of Rock Pipits Anthus petrosus and large numbers of White Wagtails Motacilla alba alba, vastly outnumbering the British Pied Wagtails, Motacilla alba yarrellii (the second unusual sight for the day).  It seems the continental birds are replacing our British counterparts, what with all the Red-rumps about.  Mount's Bay also hosted 10+ Turnstone Arenaria interpres, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 6 flyover Curlew Numenius arquata and the occasional Red-rump just about visible from the beach at times.  After wearing myself out along the beach, I returned to the marsh only to be gripped off by a dip in the form of 7 Glossy Ibis which had flown through as I was checking the pipits on the beach (if only I had had a pager)!  Anyway, a big year dip was compensated in part with a Painted Lady butterfly on the beach, 2 Red Admirals, several Small Whites, 2 Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus and a rather showy Buzzard Buteo buteo (not to mention the numerous others about, at least 2-3 in the air at any one time).  In all, a very enjoyable day and my first taster of the good birds Cornwall, I am looking forward to some good birding in the next few years!

Painted Lady

 An adult winter Starling posing nicely for the camera, I've tried to take a few more better quality pics recently so her's a starter

As you may have noticed I decided to add the Latin names for bird species so as to increase my common understanding of their names, who knows this might come in useful one day, we'll see how long I keep this new trend up for.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Argal Reservoir (5th October)

With news in that 7 Red-rumped Swallows had been seen at Marazion, the best I could do, given the limited number of daylight hours I had left was to make a quick visit to one of the local res's.  My choice was Argal Reservoir as it was the furthest south and the relatively large expanse of water was bound to turn up a few hirundines.  I was rather surprised, to say the least, that not one hirundine was in sight throughout my visit, not to mention no Red-rumps.  I'll make a trip to Marazion tomorrow to see whether it is possible to dip 7 birds in one day.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Pendennis in the Rain (2nd October)

"my" sea-watching spot at Pendennis Point

Finally October is upon us and good birds should be flooding in.  In fact no fewer than 144 Balearic Shears had already passed Porthgwarra before I rushed down to Pendennis Point to be greeted by a strong SW wind.  My hopes for good shears where high to say the least.  However, it took a surprisingly long time for the first one to come past and although not being too distant, the strong wind was making the tripod wobble so much that the closest ID I could get was a probable Balearic Shearwater.  I decided to chose a slightly more sheltered spot and after waiting about another half hour a group of 3 shearwaters flew past, once again the tripod wobbled the head wouldn't move across smoothly and I had to write them off as 3 more probable Balearic Shearwaters.  Sea-watching with the tripod I have is seriously not worth the effort I've got to invest in a better one before I get serious grip offs.  Anyway, moaning about it wont solve the problem.

A Fox Moth caterpillar accompanying me on the sea-watch.  After getting bored of the small clump of grass it began crossing the concrete and was blown around rather violently, skidding across the concrete several feet at a time!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Another dip (29th September)

A Saturday outing to Marazion, where I hoped to connect with the long-staying but elusive Spotted Crake.  I took the earliest bus I could and arrived after an hour+ journey at Marazion at around 8:40am.  No sign of the bird since yesterday but I decided to give it time.  Reward, nothing.

Marazion Marsh

With the day wearing on, I thought I'd use the time to look for some more exciting migrants at St Michaels Mount.  However, the next disappointment was that you had to pay for entrance so I took the long route around the west side of the island along the rocky shoreline.  Birding soon became rock-climbing as most of my concentration was on not falling off the ledge so only a few Rock Pipits to report.

St Michael's Mount

Once on the grassy slopes I began searching for Wryneck, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Yellow-browed Warbler but needless to say I saw none.  In fact it was almost dead, only 1 Wheatear was running along the wall and a Peregrine flew over.  Rather disappointed I returned to Marazion Marsh once again to dip out on the Spotted Crake before walking north along the footpath, over the railway and into an area of bracken where a few Dragonfly species proved to be the highlight of the day.  Several Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters being particularly photogenic.  Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and 1 Comma were also on the wing.  A final few hour wait at the standing stone once again produced nothing but a Water Rail lurking in the reeds, perhaps preparing to launch itself on the unsuspecting crake which sensibly stayed well in cover.

 male Common Darter

 female Common Darter

 Migrant Hawker

 don't get excited it's just a Water Rail

Little Egret

A brief outing (27th September)

I had the afternoon off so took the opportunity for a brief outing as I haven't been out for a while (busy studying Bio books for much of the week).  Anyway, my first stop was an area which I had expected to be scrubland in the west/central area of Falmouth.  However, on arrival I was surprised, to say the least, that it was covered nearly entirely by a modern housing estate, even my most recent OS map and google maps was oblivious to the change!  Only a fraction of the original habitat remained but was heavily fenced off.  All the same it appeared like an ideal spot for migrants (almost reminded me of the Ivinghoe Hills) but alas it seems I  still need to go on the search for a good local patch.  I decided to retry Swanpool Beach and Pennance Point.  A group of gulls was assemble on the water only metres from the shoreline, 2 Mediterranean Gulls being the highlight among them (one visible almost immediately as it was paddling around in the water almost at my feet, behaving like a domestic duck!)  Not much else to report in truth.  I tried the Golf Course again expecting fewer golfers = more birds but it seems the golf course is never void of golfers so only managed to see 3 Meadow Pipits fly over.  The only other sign of a migrant being a Chiffchaff in the coppice at Pennance Point.  Not much to report from the headland either as I had decided to leave my scope at home but both ad. win. Med Gulls decided to fly west past the headland, presumably the two individuals I had seen earlier in the bay. Interestingly however, despite having been in the company of the BHGulls earlier the Meds were only accompanied by a few Herring Gulls, my guess would be the BH Gulls roost in a different area to the Herring and Med Gulls, an interesting hypothesis as one would almost certainly have expected the opposite.

PS.  Still getting to grips with some of the commoner species that one doesn't often see in Herts eg. Gannets, absolute stunners and present almost permanently offshore (taken for granted in my opinion).