Sunday, 29 September 2013

First Cornish rarity in a long while! (28th September)

With news of yesterdays Black-winged Stilt I decided on an early night so as to prepare for an early morning start the next day.  Instead of rushing straight out, I went for  brief visit around the patch, checking the Golf Course and even did some seawatching before positive news arrived of the Stilt.

The Golf Course at Pennance produced a steady trickle of Swallows and House Martins, although they were regularly blown inland again following gusts of SE wind.  Vis-migging also produced a couple Meadow Pipits and 1 Skylark (heard only).  Seawatching on the other hand was far less productive and despite considerably stronger winds (compared to the last couple days of still weather) I only managed to see 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 1 Sandwich Tern and 1 Gannet...

I left for Hayle at 10:40am, choosing the lazy option and jumped on the train.  The trip went surprisingly smoothly with no long waits and no delays (a very unusual turn out for transport by trains!).  Despite only doing a very short stretch by bike, the cars gave me the most grief with some ludicrous drivers on the road and inconsiderate idiots honking their horns every 5-10 minutes as we stood at the side of the road watching the estuary from The Causeway.

The main area of marsh didn't seem to be hosting the stilt so I scanned through the gulls instead.  11 Mediterranean Gulls were the highlights.  Thankfully, a very friendly couple relocated the bird on the other side of the causeway in Ryan's Field.  A quick hop across the dual carriageway and sure enough there was the BLACK-WINGED STILT nimbly picking its way through the shallow water and feeding oblivious to all the attention.  I worked my way around to the hide were much better views were obtained and enjoyed the bird from close quarters before it flew back over the causeway and was lost to view.  I managed to connect with the bird on two or three other occasions throughout the day although not as well as I had done that morning.

Black-winged Stilt on Ryan's Field

I hung around in the hide for a short while after the bird had left.  Suddenly, all the birds on the estuary took flight, a tell-tale sign of a flyover raptor.  It was rather surprising to see the gulls take off too as Peregrines don't usually seem to bother them as much so it must be something larger!  Sure enough the long wingspan of an Osprey came gliding through the gloom, flanked by two mobbing crows.  It seemed intent on fishing but the constant harassment was too much of a distraction and it moved northwards through the estuary.  It did return later with a small fish in its talons and was seen on several other occasions lingering around the area.

Osprey over the estuary

Equally surprising was a Clouded Yellow that flew past my feet whilst walking around Ryan's Field.  The estuary was fairly productive too and hosted 2 Little Stints, 1 Knot, 2 Sanderling and good numbers of Redshanks, Greenshanks and Dunlin.  Much of the remainder of the day was occupied with traveling around the perimeter of the estuary, going as far as the Lelant Saltings Platform were I had my last view of the Stilt before leaving at 18:15 to take the train back to Falmouth.

one of the Little Stints with 2 Ringed Plover to the left

Lelant Saltings Station and a good viewing point for watching the Stilt

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