Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Back in Fal (8th-15th January)

I'm back in Falmouth again birding the coastal strip between Castle Beach and Swanpool again.

My first afternoon back gave me an hour or twos daylight which enabled me to kick start my 2014 Falmouth patch list with a brief sea-watch from Swanpool Point. Highlights included an adult Mediterranean Gull on Swanpool, 1 Red Necked Grebe (and possibly a second bird) of the point, 2 Slavonian Grebes (one giving decent flight views), plenty of Kittiwakes flying west (including one with an oiled belly) and 1 Great Northern Diver. However, I still couldn't locate any Black-throated Divers (although 2 divers did fly through the bay which looked good for BTD)!

I'm taking part in the foot it challenge, patchwork challenge and University Birdwatch Challenge so there's plenty on my plate at the moment. I did restrain myself from too much birding as I did have a deadline to get on with soon after I arrived back in Falmouth so I haven't been able to get out as much as I'd like. With that finally behind me today, I was able to get on with a proper afternoons birding. Highlights include my first Black-throated Diver for the patch (a bird I've only managed to catch up with now after the big influx of local patch birds this winter). 2 Great Northern Divers, a supporting cast of Red Necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebes and a couple Guillemots amongst a feeding flock of Shags boosted the days total up a notch. Cormorant, Fulmar and Razorbill were also seen in flight around the bay.

Shoreline species included 1 Whimbrel, the reliable Black Redstart on Castle Beach and a rather misplaced Redshank on the rocky shore (the first time I have seen one this side of Pendennis Point). A couple Rock Pipits and a Meadow Pipit on the way were also added to the foot it list.

I met Greg at Swanpool Point and together worked our way along the coast towards Castle Beach before backtracking to Swanpool in search of dead sea-birds washed up in the strand line. We found a total of 4 Shags, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill (probably an adult with 3 grooves beyond the white vertical stripe on the bill) and a headless Great Northern Diver.

Great Spotted Dogfish egg case

dead Razorbill

probably an adult as it has three grooves beyond the white vertical stripe)

The most bizarre and surprising sighting that day was just as I was approaching home, as I was walking past the rugby grounds, a Kingfisher shot across the road giving me just enough time to recognise its shape, jizz and the iridescent blue mantle before it disappeared down an alley behind some houses!!

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