Friday, 7 October 2011

Cornish treats

Autumn now in full swing, Lou, Forrest and myself head off to the South West for our annual West country visit. Last September proved to be a memorable week with good weather, lovely walks, lots of fun for the dog, good showings of pasty and of course some birds. As has become almost a tradition now we stopped off at Davidstow on the way down or 'Sheep World' as Forrest likes to know it. Whilst I savoured the cracking Buff breast on the airfield, Lou relaxed and Forrest had his sheep fix! This was my fifth or so visit to Davidstow and I must admit it's a personal favourite site as it's great for photographing waders at close range.

The Buff breasted Sandpiper above was one of probably in excess of a hundred seen this year in the UK and Ireland and surely Hurricanes must have a significant effect on their global population for what is basically a decling species.

Next stop was Stithians res where in the pouring rain I manged to locate the 1st year Long-billed Dowitcher that had recently arrived. With time getting on it was quickly off to Drift where the Semi palmated Sandpiper showed brilliantly from the hide and the Lesser Yellowlegs was seen distantly. Four Yank waders on a day wasn't a bad haul plus brief views of a 'probable' Black -headed Wagtail at Drift. It was interesting to listen to the conversation in the hide at Drift from the local birders of the well known and almost 'legendary' suppressors in the County, at time it almost felt like similar talk from certain birders back home. We arrived at our cottage near Pendeen late afternoon and so began a very enjoyable week in one of favourite parts of the country, oh to be retired!

Saturday and an early morning seawatch with cracking views of Bonxies, Manxies, Arctic Skuas and 10+ distant Leach's Petrels were good early morning birds whilst the afternoon was spent watching two Black Kites at Bosfranken Farm near Sennen one of which followed the plough and was watched eating earthworms.
Lesser Legs at Drift, distant but great scope views on my second attempt

Pec Sand on a farmyard muddy puddle near Sennen!! This bird was at Trigithian Farm situated only 500m or so from the coast and evidently attractive enough to tempt a migrant Pec to drop in and feed. On my trips to the West Country and especially this part of Cornwall it always amazes me how much is found by the dedicated army of local birders and visitors scouring the valleys and cliffs yet at the same time how much is missed!! Only a short disdtance away and esaily visible on a clear day is Scilly which was literally brimming with rares the week I was at St Just!
Sheep World complete with sheep, birder car and 'hidden' waders

The Long-billed Dowitcher at Stithians

The week continued as it started with great scenery, variable weather, some good walks, sheep watching for Forrest and some great birds. A memorable seawatch at Pendeen produced all four Skua species, Grey Phalarope, Sabine's Gull and Leach's Petrel. Choughs were seen a few times near Pendeen as well as Peregrine, lots of Sparrowhawks and some great views of the commoner waders. If your ever wondering what to do when you reture and live in the South East, simples...............move to Cornwall