The day was rather enjoyable but delays on the train meant I had a two hour to wait at Par. Not such a disaster as it may seem as I spent the time going down to the nearby beach bypassing the football pitch to check the 100's of Black-headed Gulls. There was in fact 1 ad. win. Mediterranean Gull among them. It was ringed but it seemed the metal ring itself had slipped slightly over the upper part of its foot, causing it considerable discomfort as it was hobbling about on the grass, not such a nice sight to see and a note to all ringers to please make sure the ring is attached appropriately to ensure this does not happen in future! Anyway, 1 diver sp. offshore at the beach and at least 7 Great Crested Grebes also on the sea (including 1 pair in courtship). There were barely any birds on the beach except for 3 Rock Pipits and a Stonechat due to a lot of disturbance by dozens of dogs. I count myself lucky that only one came to piss on my bag and coat (slight hint of sarcasm).
Sea or Portland Spurge
I finally arrived in Roche but there was still a couple miles by bike between the station and the downs, made a little more enjoyable by the sight of dozens of Fieldfare and Redwings. Eventually arriving at Rosenannon Downs by late morning, I noticed a flock of c.20 passerines fly over and land in some long grass near the road. I wondered over to check it out but accidentally flushed them before they all flew some distance up the downs near the top of the hill. A bit of walking ensued but together with a small group of other assembled birders, we located the LAPLAND BUNTINGS feeding and scurrying about on the ground! It certainly wasn't all as easy at it sounds, as getting any glimpse or view at all of them on the ground was extremely difficult and most of our views were restricted to flight views. All the same I managed to enjoy watching the flock for the better part of the day and afternoon and managed to pick out at least 1 stunning male whilst in flight and briefly perched on the ground.
typically obscured view of one of the Lapland Buntings
Other birds of note at Rosenannon included a Peregrine making a brief attempt at harassing on of the many Snipe. Also about were plenty of Skylarks, a couple of Meadow Pipits, 3 Stonechats and a Tawny Owl calling throughout much of the late morning.
Unfortunately I dipped on my next target species, Willow Tit, which I had been hoping to locate in the nearby woodland but all I could find were 2 Marsh Tits, and a Nuthatch. Once again I headed back up onto the downs, this time to the far northern end where the occasional Snipe and even a Hare suddenly shoot out from where I was stood, both giving me a massive shock!
female Lapland Bunting, showing down to a couple of meters!
Last birds of the day were 2 calling Tawny Owls at Roche station before another long bike ride back to Tremough.