Saturday, 4 May 2013

The Kernow Experience (4th May)

I took the afternoon off and cycled a couple miles up the road to Stithians Reservoir with a glimmer of hope of connecting with the Grasshopper Warbler that had been seen the previous day on the west bank of the reservoir.  I spent a little time around the southern end where a Raven and Sand Martin flew over.  I decided to head up the west side in search of my target species but it seemed it had all gone quiet.  I was rather pleased however when I caught a brief glimpse of a flock of 10+ Whimbrel landing in a field close-by but they immediately took off again and I didn't relocate them until I picked out a flock of 16 Whimbrel landing in the field east of the reservoir about an hour later.  4 Wheatear in the neighbouring field were a pleasant surprised for an area a little further inland and Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Sedge Warblers seemed to burst into song around the entire periphery of the reservoir.  From the northern bank I was treated to a rather close flypast Cuckoo that crossed the path at eye-level followed by a pair of Stonechats on the fence.  As the afternoon drew to a close, I eventually came close to reaching the southern cut-off.

I stopped briefly, then listened more closely and with some patience it was clear that the reeling noise I was hearing definitely came from a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER in the moorland just the other side of the fence!  It was difficult to pick out at first but occasionally the song became unmistakably clear.  I couldn't resist the urge much longer and climbed over the fence before approaching closer.  As I neared, I was thrilled when I suddenly set eyes on the warbler reeling away loudly only a couple meters away.  The setting was certainly special with the light vanishing fast, the open moorland stretching all around and the deafening song of a very showy Gropper performing for me alone.  A little further off, a second one began a short reel before being deafened once again by the one next to me.

the stunning song of a reeling Grasshopper Warbler

can't see the bird in this one but still an impressive yet typically long reel

moorland just east of Stithians Reservoir

Grasshopper Warbler showing brilliantly in very poor light

looking north along the east bank of Stithians Reservoir

I was rather upset however, when I returned to my bike to find the saddle and mudguards both stolen!  I'd have cycled the four miles back to campus but the people thought it funny to puncture both my tires too.  Nonetheless my spirits could barely be dampened thanks to the stunning Gropper I'd encountered and I count myself lucky to have been more fortunate than the road-killed Stoat I found on the A394.

dead Stoat, always sad roadkill


  1. You certainly saw a lot of good birds. From Findlay.

  2. Samuel very lovely sightings for you yesterday but probably a shock when you got back to your reduced bike. Was it a long walk home? I am glad you kept your spirits up, because all of this can be replaced.
    Love mum

  3. Thanks Mum and Findlay for the comments, much appreciated :)