Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The big outdoors (16th-30th June)

I was based in Falmouth until the 24th June spending Mondays and Fridays working at Perran Sands and on days off I was working at the field or sorting the house out in preparation for leaving.

16th June

The 16th involved doing odd jobs around town but in amongst all the mayhem of rushing around the countryside I still managed to get singing Cuckoo and Garden Warbler on the day list as well as Tawny Owl perched on wires alongside the road, nicely eliminated in the headlamps of the car and a Barn Owl quartering fields near Treverva.

19th June

An early morning start to check the moth trap at Dan's field (and seeing a Badger run alongside the car) then straight back to Penryn before catching a lift to work.  This was followed by a mornings seawatch at Perran Sands which yielded at least 15 Common Dolphins in the bay perfecting their hunting technique.  This was done by dividing the pod in two groups with half the individuals speeding across the mouth of the bay herding the shoal of fish closer inshore to shallower waters before the second pod lay in wait closer inshore, intercepted the fish attempting to make an escape around the cetacean's barrier.  The afternoon was spent enjoying the company of hundreds of Silver Studded Blues on the sand dunes behind the caravan site!

20th June

The following day was spent nest recording at Stithians Reservoir with Daniel Eva.  We had some success discovering a few Sedge Warbler nests, checking the last of the tit boxes (almost all fledged or failed now) however, unfortunately the Buzzard nest that had three chicks in last time we checked had failed with no sign of the young.  We were also quite surprised to see that the Great Crested Grebe pair which had nested in the southern corner of the main reservoir which had been dangerously exposed to land predators due to dropping water levels had successfully hatched two chicks.  As a twist, the original clutch had included five eggs but these had dwindled down to only two, including a Little Grebe egg that had been dumped in the nest (almost Cuckoo like behaviour!).  This had then hatched along with the single GCG chick and was now ridding around on the parents back alongside it!

23rd June

My Dad was down in Falmouth from the 21st-24th June to help me transport the last of my belongings home.  Alongside all the work we managed to take a day off and visit the Roseland peninsula.  5 Cirl Buntings and 2 Painted Ladys were the highlights along with a very brief glimpse of what appeared to be a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.  Later that evening, Dan, Simon, my Dad and I headed down to Croft Pascoe for Nightjars.  We arrived just in time to be hear the sound of churring and connected with a total of 3-4 Nightjars (2-3 males and a female).  A reeling Grasshopper Warbler was an extra bonus.

25th-30th June

Back home in Kings Langley again...

Haven't indulged myself in a great deal of exciting birding but I have been out a lot with my brother.  Highlights over the last couple days include 2 Mandarin (one female with 4 ducklings) and a pair of Egyptian Geese with 5 goslings along the canal near Cassiobury.  Garden Warbler, Common Tern and Reed Buntings at Croxley Common Moor were nice to see.  There was also a singing male Reed Bunting at the lock house on the canal just south of the M25 junc. 20 (a rare occurrence just outside the patch limits!) and a rattling Lesser Whitethroat has set up territory at Balls Pond Farm.  2 Little Owls are also on patch as was an Emperor Dragonfly, Fox and the first Ringlets and Marbled Whites are emerging.  Red Kites, Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and to a lesser degree Kestrels have all encountered frequently.

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