Saturday, 15 December 2012

Lesser twitch (15th December)

I had big plans for the day and they all worked out fine until about half way through.  I began at Truro station (which required an early morning bike ride to reach from campus).  Next, I continued north east up into Devon by train.  Another short bike ride between St Budeaux and Ernesettle Creek.  I arrived to coincide with the highest tide possible, not quite my intention so I was planning on returning a little later in the day.  A few calling Redshank down river raised my hopes and as they flew in, I suddenly noticed one do a small flourish as it landed on a small island of aquatic vegetation just about protruding above the water level.  I scoped the bird and the features so far looked good for my target bird, only it's legs refused to show.  I waited a while until it suddenly decided to fly and the remaining features soon became apparent,  it was my first LESSER YELLOWLEGS!  Since it was still just about getting light, the digi-scope shots don't reveal many of the features so I've attached a few rough sketches taken in the field whilst watching the bird.  As the tide receded  the Yellowlegs flew to the opposite side of the creek before moving behind some of the overgrown bank out of view, which is where I left it before heading off for my second target bird of the day.

 Lesser Yellowlegs, another admittedly terrible pics but the bird none the less!

 Ernesettle Creek

 some sketches of the Lesser Yellowlegs, taken in the field hence the wobbly hand writing

Other birds of note in the area included 2 Bullfinches, 1 Curlew, 1 Snipe and a Kingfisher.

Portworthy Dam was my next stop and required an eight mile bike ride to reach, a rather mountainous trip through some very scenic woodland at parts.  Most notably Cann Wood, which almost had a feel about it like that of the New Forest with its wide open expanses of ground and scattered pine trees.

Cann Wood

At least 6 Raven were circling overhead and as I passed a clump of pine trees the distinctive calls of Crossbills came from overhead, although I never saw any.  A Marsh Tit was also calling in the wood and at the dam itself, 1 Siskin was also heard.  My search for the reported Green-winged Teal that had been present a few days earlier was nowhere to be seen, despite repeatedly scanning through the Teal flocks numbering up to c.20 birds.  Numerous Herring Gulls, a few Common Gulls and a Great Black-backed Gull were roosting on the water and a Peregrine made a noisy entrance but otherwise nothing.

Flourishes of rain followed and I still had plans to twitch the Lesser Scaup at Siblyback Lake but long delays at the station meant it wasn't worth the effort in the end as it would have been simply too dark.

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