Friday, 11 April 2014

Lizard WeBS count (30th March)

Back for another regular monthly round trip through Lizard for the WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) with Dan, covering Loe Pool, Helston Boating Lake and sewage works, Hayle Kimbro, Croft Pascoe and a seawatch from Lizard Point.

The seawatch had priority but we still had a brief stop at Hayle Kimbro as it was en route.  March tends to be the hardest month for producing something so it wasn't a surprise that the highlights were a Reed Bunting and 4 Mallard.  Next up, a walk along the SW cliff to the point for the seawatch where we manged 1 Red-throated Diver flying east, 2 Common Scoter and I was rather pleased to pick out my first 4 Manx Shearwaters for the year!  I joined the seawatch a little later as I was in fact checking out the small valley west of the point.  A bit of pishing produced a single Chiffchaff but it was noticeably different in plumage, particularly its colouration.  Siberian came directly to mind and the grey nape, head and very pale underside all seemed to add up.  All the odds stacked up in favour of tristis up until the point at which it called... Suddenly, it was too much like collybita again as the tone of voice was too load and Chaffinch-like, not the quiet and timid Bullfinch-like note that should be expected of tristis.  We also saw our first 2 Choughs of the year and bumped into a couple regulars also seawatching from the point who pointed out a second Red-throated Diver sat on the sea.

A quick pass by Croft Pascoe produced another calling Reed Bunting but little else before we finally headed for Loe Pool.  Accepting defeat by this time, we didn't expect much else so in the end we slumped ourselves on the bench and enjoyed our first Willow Warblers of the year, soaking up their beautiful song and watching them flit around the willows (a total of at least four birds were singing in the area).  Loe Bar had very little at all as we only found 1 dead Guillemot, a dead auk sp. and rotting Shag corpse on the side of the pool.

Moving on to Helston Boating Lake, I spent the couple precious minutes we had here photographing the long-staying Whooper Swan before having a brief check of the sewage works and traveling on to the next and final site, College and Argal Res's.

Whooper Swan

Not much at either site but 2 Willow Warblers were singing and there were 2 Goldeneye on College Res with unusually high numbers of Great Crested Grebes (a total of 16) split between both res's.

Thanks goes once again to Dan for all the driving, cheers!

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