Monday, 16 February 2015

Patching Pieces (21st January-9th February)

It's been fairly eventful recently with the Black Redstart still making regular visits to my back garden until early Feb (although I haven't seen it for the past few days so I assume it's moved on). I even managed to see it cough up a pellet one day after shaking it's head in frustration before a small ball rolled out of it's throat, quite fascinating!

A visit to Swanpool on the 24th January confirmed the ongoing presence of the 1st winter Long-tailed Duck, Great Crested Grebe and 2 Water Rails (one even grabbing a small Mullet from the stream!), 2 Ravens and a Chiffchaff. Swanpool Beach hosted 16 Turnstone, 1 Great Northern Diver and 15 Fulmar on the cliff face whilst Pendennis offered the usual 2 Whimbrel, 1 ad Mediterranean Gull, 1 Great Northern Diver and 3 Slavonian Grebes towards Castle Beach. A quick nip over to Stithians Reservoir produced 1 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Goldeneye, 4 Snipe and a selection of wildfowl.

A quick nip past the Penryn River on my way between home and campus on the 24th January produced a single Mediterranean Gull, 1 Greenshank, a couple Redshank, Curlew and half a dozen Teal.

Another brief return to the coast on the 27th January produced Long-tailed Duck, Great Northern Diver and 2 Slavonian Grebes yet it was only on our return home that we noticed the mega news of a King Eider reported in the neighbouring cove! Needless to say, Maenporth was our first destination the next morning.

The 28th January dawned with rain and overcast conditions and it was still dark when I left the house. Fortunately, on arrival we picked up the 1st winter drake KING EIDER (lingering offshore with a female Common Eider) shortly after arriving and enjoyed progressively better views as the day elapsed! An absolutely brilliant local bird which Dan was also keen to add to his Falmouth List so a short trek back to Pennance Point followed by a scan back across the bay allowed us the opportunity to view the bird from within patch limits too.  Other bits and pieces on the day include the usual 1st winter Long-tailed Duck and 1 Mediterranean Gull.

view into Falmouth Bay, the two small dots in the bottom right corner are the King Eider and Common Eider

1st winter drake King Eider

King Eider with female Common Eider

directions for anyone wanting to twitch the King Eider

30th January:  Helped lead an EcoSoc bird trip around Marazion.  Unfortunately no Starling murmurations as we had hoped but a couple Great Northern Divers offshore and 2 Bitterns in flight were nice to see.

1st Feb: Went shopping into town but had a cursory glance at Penryn River.  3 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Buzzards and 30 Teal being the highlights.

After a week of dissertation presentations full of rather hectic things going on I finally had the opportunity to head out on patch again for a proper spin around the area to double check on the reported absence of the King Eider.  Fortunately, I came across it again fairly easily lingering a short distance offshore loosely associated with a feeding group of Shags (there was no sign of the female Common Eider though).  However, conditions were a little choppy on the sea but that didn't discourage half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls, some Common Gulls and 1 Kittiwake from scouting the area.  2 Ravens also flew over and a Peregrine also showed nicely.  Other bits and pieces include 1 Redshank on the mud at the outlet channel at Maenporth, 1 Stonechat and the Long-tailed Duck at Swanpool.

8th Feb: Roseland with Matt Pearce, Dan Chaney and Greg Adams (highlights copied from the Falmouth Thread on BF)

Turnaware Point

Redshank, Kingfisher, 2+ Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker (h), 2 Common Gull, c.150 Lapwing in flight

St Just in Roseland

1 Whimbrel
3 Greenshank
1 Redshank
4 Curlew
2 Little Egret
and in the Carrick Roads -
27 Black-necked Grebes
3+ GN Diver
8 RB Merganser

Gerrans Bay from Pendower

10 Black-throated Diver
3 GN Diver
1 grebe sp. (probably Slavonian)

153 Skylark in the centre of the Roseland Peninsula, 2 Sparrowhawks circling over suitable nesting habitat and 2 Raven.

Probably timed it all wrong for Avocets at Malpas, but between Malpas and Truro 20+ Shelduck, 15+ Black-tailed Godwit, Mediterranean Gull.

Some phenology: Red Admiral at St Just in Roseland, Small Tortoiseshell at Pendower.  Lots Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming.

9th Feb: Stithians with Dan.  Juvenile Peregrine showing nicely on the mud in front of the hide and perching in the nearby trees on the banks of the reservoir.  1 Slavonian Grebe, 4 Snipe and 2 Goldeneye.

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