Sunday, 5 October 2008

The highlights from Cornwall

Finally found some time to attempt to update this blog, it's raining, I'm on call, there's no birds about unless you're in Galway or abroad and better late than never. My weeks holiday in Cornwall was conveniently timed to miss a Grey Phal at Bough Beech, a Fan-tailed Warbler at Swalecliffe, and too early to enjoy one of most wanted photographic targets at close range, Buff breasted Sandpiper!
News of a Buff breast at Davidstow a mere 40 mile aways found us having a day out in North Cornwall enjoying the persistent rain, high water levels at Coliford Lake and my first ever visit to Davidstow airfield, home to many a good wader over the years and a known hotspot for Buff breasts. As you can see from the photo above the military were on site presumably also looking for Yank waders or just simply enjoying the many facilities that this great site has to offer. The old Control tower was the place to be but sadly despite much searching there were no Yanks around, (they waited until I got back home to Kent a week later)! For photographing waders though this is a superb place where you simply drive around and slowly and carefully approach the waders that can then be photographed at very close range.
This Dunlin was one of many scattered around the airfield, if only it was a bit rarer, the photo opportunities here are excellent.
This Ringed Plover was also completely relaxed at our presence and allowed a good many shots to be fired off.
Fortunately for our Sheepdog, he was very much under the impression that we had come to 'SheepWorld' as the Sheep also very very approachable and despite the two hours or so spent driving around the airfield we never heard a sound from him, he was mesmerised by all the Sheep.
Back on the Rame Peninsula, a pleasant day watching the oats coming in and out of Devonport allowed for mega close views as HMS Talent shows above, that's the name Louise gave it after grabbing the bins off me and checking out the crew!
A visit to St John's Lake, a good place to see Med Gulls, though we've got plenty of them in Kent, still a good bird to see and watch from the car as you cross the ford towards Milbrook.
Despite many early mornings spent wandering around looking for migrants, this was the best I could come up with, a Ring Ousel that was present for two days near Rame Head. I also saw Tree Pipits, Crossbills, Redstart, stacks of Chiffs, the resident Ravens, Buzzards and plenty of Yellowhammers as seen below.

It was always a pleasure of an evening though to be able to relax in our farmhouse and enjoy watching the Badgers from the warmth of the living room, as well as Foxes and most memorable a Tawny Owl. What an excellent week, shame about the Yank waders!!


Josh Jenkins Shaw said...

Sounds like a good trip, ashame about the yanky waders though!... I think i'm going to that area of cornwall in a couple of weeks for about 5 days so hopefully I should get some good stuff.
Great photos!
PS, Bad luck with the Grey phal ( I saw it!)

Barry said...

Hi Josh
Cheers for that, the week I was in Cornwall there were lots of Grey Phals in the Land's End area but none near Rame! Davidstow is a really great place, details about it in the 'Where to Watch Birds' book. Basically though, it's just East of Camelford and there's a road that runs alongside the disused airfield, 'ignore the signs about planes landing' Drive off the main road onto the runway and drive around looking for waders. The views are stunning, stop the car and only photograph from the car as the birds stay then.
If you need further details contact me.
(enjoy the rain !!)

Anonymous said...

Hi Barry

I have recently discovered yer blog mate and am enjoying reading it. I've changed mine and though I'd let you know as you had a link to it.

the new one is

will be visiting blighty next spring and hope to see some of you if we get down to Dunge.

all the best and give everyone a big hello


Andy Wraithmell

Anonymous said...

ps you do realise that ship was flying a german flag!

Barry said...

Hi Andy
A mere technicality that flag flying, let's call it HMS anyway !!

John Young said...

Hi Barry, I remember trying to find several buff breasts and richards pipits on Davidstow many a year ago. Needless to say I saw neither. I've got a feeling it was the same day I went for a sea watch at Porthgwarra. Arriving at dawn after an all night drive from Kent to be faced with thick fog!! Ahh, those were the days....

Barry said...

Hi John
Good to hear fron 'over the hill' at Longfield. Keep a look out for Buzzards, I had two near New Barn on Sunday!
Seawatching at Porthgwarra, great stuff. In 1986 in one weekend we saw Cory's SW on the Sat, drove up to Lincs for Pacific Goldie, saw a Yank Goldie also, and the first Red-necked Stint for GB the same day at Blacktoft.
mispent youth eh