Friday, 5 December 2014

Patching Falmouth (2nd November-4th December)

Just another batch of sightings to try and catch up with, so here they are...

After returning from Scillies I've mostly been tottering around patch, logging the occasional decent stuff. As always I've only kept a fraction of my records but I'll try and include as much as I can remember.  Hopefully I'll be able to kick start my interest in Birdtrack again, that'll be far more important.

The usual selection of waders are still to be found at Gorrangorras.  Maximum counts from the last month include c.100 Curlew, 50+ Redshank, 9 Turnstone, 5+ Greenshank, the occasional Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper and Water Rail.  Firecrests have been appearing quite often including 1-2 on campus, 2 on Pendennis, 2 on farmland near Treverva and a couple others strewn about the place. Earlier in November there was a substantial passage with 1,000's of Redwing over Falmouth in the early hours of the morning with 2 Fieldfare (my first of the autumn) tagging along with the them.

Firecrest sonogram

The Penryn Campus still hosts a Black Redstart or two whilst late autumn seawatches have been becoming progressively interesting with locally good numbers of Poms.  Almost daily morning seatwatches with Dan produced on occasion up to a dozen Pomarine Skuas!  Here's some samples that I've just scavenged from my tweets:

8th November: 3 Pomarine Skuas, 3 Arctic Skuas, 3 skua sp. 5+ Great Northern Divers and 17 Balearic Shearwaters all west.

10th November: 8:10-10:35: 12 Pomarine Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Bonxie, 7 Balearic Shearwaters, 6 Great Northern Divers and 1 Black-throated Diver.

11th November: Lizard Point: 7 Pomarine Skuas, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Bonxie, 11 Balearic Shearwaters, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Fulmar and a few Guillemots in sum plum already!

13th November: Pendennis Point midday: 1 juv Pomarine Skua, 10 Great Northern Divers and a Black-throated Diver.

Up to 29+ Great Northern Divers have also been in Falmouth Bay and Carrick Roads on the 14th November along with a prob. Red-throated Diver seen flying out of the Roads in the gloom.  Other significant patch sightings include a juv Long-tailed Duck which appeared on Swanpool on the 4th November and is still present now!  I also found 2 1st win. drake Scaup on Swanpool on the 29th November which are also still present now!  The local Barn Owl has also been showing nicely in daylight hours adding to the excitement.

2 1st win. drake Scaup on Swanpool

juv Long-tailed Duck also on Swanpool

Whilst conducting WeBS counts on the Lizard on the 11th November, Dan and I came across 7 Firecrests at Loe Pool and the recent Whooper Swan arrival at Croft Pascoe.  We also stumbled on a Lesser Whitethroat at Stithians, some scrutiny of it the following day along with some online research, further reading and correspondents with other well qualified birders has led us to reached the consensus that it is indeed of eastern origin, most probably a blythi!  I managed to get a muffled recording of its call but it's one that's not sufficient to narrow the ID down any further.  Good photos are on CBWPS!

Lesser Whitethroat (prob. blythi) near Stuart Hutchings Hide

calls a couple times at the beginning of the video but background noise is too overwhelming so you have to turn the sound up a lot

Other birds at Stithians include Ruff, a few Ringed Plovers, 100+ Golden Plovers and good numbers of Lapwing and Wigeon.  I also picked out a rather grey-headed female Wigeon which would have been worth further scrutiny but without seeing the axillaries the job of confirming American Wigeon wasn't all that easy.  Maybe I should have invested a little more effort as two American Wigeon appeared on the NE Cornish coast shortly afterwards.

Even keeping an eye out of my bedroom window has been rewarding.  I'm fortunate enough to have a semi-decent yet distant view over the Carrick Roads and a fraction of Falmouth Bay which have helped me add Great Northern Diver, Little Egret, Mediterranean Gull and Wigeon to the house list (not that I even bother to keep lists any more).  A couple Common Gulls have also been lingering around the Falmouth area and half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls appeared on College Reservoir (I've only ever seen singles there before!).  Butterflies are also still on the wing occasionally, invariably Red Admirals (one in Penryn only yesterday (4th December)) but also a pair of Speckled Woods mating at Pendennis on the 22nd November!  Water Rails are also becoming more and more evident as the season progresses, sometimes swimming across Swanpool and being rather approachable.

mating pair of Speckled Woods

I've also been for a twitching excursion round West Penwith with Dan a week or so ago.  We were lucky enough to get decent views of the PACIFIC DIVER but less fortunate in our attempts to track down the nearby Richard's Pipit and Dusky Warbler (only a Firecrest made up for our troubles).  However, with a free day at hand, I took the train to Penzance on the 2nd December to try and mop up on a couple rarities.  The bike ride to Porthgwarra wasn't all that easy in strong headwind and even worse along the west coast to Kelynack.  The first stop produced the much anticipated female DESERT WHEATEAR which performed very nicely near the coastguard station down to a couple feet!  A rather confiding colour-ringed Chough also added to the enjoyment and a quick walk round the corner to the coppice near the Doctor's Garden produced a cracking Yellow-browed Warbler.  There were quite a few Fulmar patrolling the cliff line but little else other than Razorbills and Gannets and gulls offshore.

Gwennap Head

Desert Wheatear, Porthgwarra

On to Kelynack...  Yet again I struck luck as soon as I arrived as the DUSKY WARBLER flew across the road and started calling in the line of willows even before I'd managed to set my bike down!  It showed fairly well (for a Dusky Warbler) even allowing me to get one brief pic with my digital compact camera after some considerable persistence.  I had yet more success when I arrived back in Penzance to enjoy some further views of the Pacific Diver out in the bay along with 5+ Great Northern Divers.  A nice round off to three rarities in a day, most surprising for me was the fact I'd managed to pull it off with the use of public transport and biking alone!

Dusky Warbler, Kelynack

Dusky Warbler sonogram

No comments:

Post a Comment