Monday, 15 June 2015

More birding stuff... (7th-15th June)

I've been extremely busy recently, working at Perran Sands, a caravan park on the north Cornish coast as well as providing a helping hand with Dan at his small holding.

Perran Sands

Much of it has been a blur and I can't remember exact day-to-day occurrences but here goes.  Pretty much had daily sightings of Painted Lady, often two or three per day!  It may well prove to be an indication of an influx into the country of this species.  10th June was spent largely on the saddle of my bike taking in much of the Cornish countryside.  Starting at Camborne I biked over to Hayle (Whimbrel, Dunlin and 4 Red Kites of note) then St Ives for a seawatch.  This yielded very little other than some Manx Shearwaters, Kittiwakes, auks and some Shags.  I then bisected West Penwith, taking the B3311 south towards Penzance stopping at the tin mine of Wheel Reeth directly next to the road.  Most of my time was spent resting my eyes but a surprise adult Gannet cutting across the peninsula whilst circling upwards in order to reach Marazion was confirmation enough for me that seabirds truly are comfortable with crossing landmasses!

Once arriving in Marazion the time had slid away and it was now approaching mid-afternoon giving me a fighting chance for my main target species, Squacco Heron.  Waiting patiently at the side of the marsh revealed singing Cetti's Warbler, Reed BuntingLittle Egrets and c.10 Grey Herons, and eventually after some time of waiting I caught a satisfactory flight view of the SQUACCO HERON as it crossed the full length of the marsh from near the standing stones to the railway bridge.  I waited until 7pm for further views but with darkness impeding on my time and a long bike ride back still lying ahead of me I decided to call it a day.  Additional highlights included a probable Hobby at the far back of the reserve (a bird that would have been a county tick!  One was seen the following day hunting bats at over the reserve), 1 Red Kite, 6 Sanderling on Marazion beach and numerous bats flying around the fields as well as a Badger and Fox crossing the road in front of me near Helston-Falmouth.

a blanket of cloud approaching on my ride back to Falmouth, the panoramic shot has given it a fish-eye look

I've also continued helping Daniel Eva with nest recording at Stithians Reservoir.  Most of the Blue Tits and Great Tits have fledged (below average numbers this year I'm afraid), but we did find 2 Sedge Warbler nests in compensation along with a Chiffchaff building a nest not to mention checking in on all previous records of breeding birds in the area.

Patching has largely been neglected but this hasn't been of much concern as I've spent most of my time up at Treverva where regular Painted Ladys and Garden Warblers have been on the agenda instead along with my first emerging Large Skipper.

Garden Warbler showing well and singing in the open at Stithians Reservoir

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