Sunday, 28 February 2016

Cornwall (and a little bit of Devon) - 23 to 27 February 2016

We headed down to the West country for a few days birding before spending a couple of days with friends.

Our first port of call was Dozmary Pool to try for the Lesser Scaup. We failed to find it, only seeing some Goldeneye on the water and a stunning Short-eared Owl at Bolventor before we rejoined the main road South.

Short-eared Owl

Dozmary Pool

We then visited Stithians reservoir to see the Slavonian Grebe, seeing Raven and 3 Buzzards as well. A search along a promising stretch of coast failed to produce any Chough, but a thorough scouring of the Lizard did turn up the Rose-coloured Starling.

Rose-coloured Starling female

We just made it to Helston boating Lake before the light began to fail and we saw the Whooper Swan, a bird that has returned for its second winter. The fact that the bird came to bread with a local lady calling 'Whoopie, Whoopie' might have raised doubts as to how wild the bird might be, but having seen Whoopers on a pond in central Reykjavik, and the fact that it disappears away at the right time of year, may support it's wild origins.

Whooper Swan, Helston boating lake

We started the next day at Newlyn Harbour where we looked for, but didn't see, the American Herring Gull. We did get a distant view of the Glaucous Gull, and amongst the gulls, saw a couple of Greater Black-backed Gulls battling it out by the harbour wall.

 Great Black-backed Gulls

A small group of Turnstone were loafing about, and very tame.


Nothing to do with birding but interesting all the same, the lifeboat returned while we were there, towing fishing boat, Shiela, after engine trouble.

Newlyn lifeboat

Our birding then continued at Penzance were we had Purple Sandpiper (17), Kittiwake, and Turnstone, and at Marazion Little Egret, Stonechat, Marsh Harrier, Mediterranean Gull, Cetti's Warbler and Bittern.


At Perranuthnoe we saw 3 Black-throated, 8 Great Northern and the Pacific Diver. There was no sign of the Hudsonian Whimbrel. Also present were Rock Pipit, Little Egret (7) and a Razorbill.

At the end of the day we managed to see the American Herring Gull on St Clement's Island.

We started our last birding day at Penzance where we got much closer views of the Pacific Diver on a much calmer sea. The Purple Sandpipers were very close to the walk way as the high tide was really quite high. A flock of c30 Sanderling were on the beach and singles of Guillemont and Slavonian Grebe were out on the open water.

Purple Sandpiper

Back at Perranuthnoe we still couldn't see the Hudsonian Whimbrel, but there were 9 Mediterranean Gulls including one with a colour ring (RE2L), 4 Grey Plover and a Glaucous Gull on the rocks. The details for the gull were obtained within a few days.

  RE2L           left       pullus       Paris                  FS93943              27/06/2015  Barbâtre, Polder de Sebastopol, Vendée, FRANCE  46,56N 2,09W
               ringed by the team Franck Salmon and Cap Ornis Baguage
vv       08/09/2015  Le Conquet, Ria, Finistère, FRANCE  48,22N 4,46W                                                                               Le Dreff, Alain
p         29/10/2015  St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, GB  49,55N 6,19W                                                                                          Pender, Joe
vv       25/02/2016  Trenow Cove, Cornwall, GB  50,07N 5,27W                                                                                         Lamsdell, Chris
Glaucous Gull

As we began to travel back, we called in at the Hayle where the highlight was a Spoonbill. Another quick visit to Dozmary Pool, failed to produce the Lesser Scaup, which had been reported again the day before, with only the Goldeneye present, plus some Mallards.

We stopped off to visit friends at Rezare. We had hoped to do some ringing the next day but rain stopped play and we had to be content with watching  the stream of birds to the feeders. Yellowhammer, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow and a hoarde of tits visited throughout the day. Many thanks to Phil, Coral and Ruth for their fabulous hospitality, as always. On leaving on the 27th we saw the hundreds of finches, mainly Chaffinch, that Phil had told us about. Very tempting but it was time to be moving on - so we made our way back, stopping off to check for Dipper at any likely spots.

 Two Dippers were seen from a bridge in Tavistock.

By the time we finally reached Broadsands it was much too windy, dull and cold to tempt out any Cirl Buntings - and the chances of picking up, much less staying on any bird on the sea was completely hopeless - so at that point we headed for home. 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Wraysbury GP - 12 February 2016

The last outing to Wraysbury was on the first day of the year (before the piebald ponies, at least nine, made a reappearance) and with a few adverse weather days due we decided to do what we could before the wind got up.

All was very quiet, and again there wasn't much about to catch.

Totals: 5 (5)

Dunnock - 0 (2)
Blackbird - 1
Goldcrest - 2 (1)
Blue Tit - 2 (2)

Broadwater GP - 11 February 2016

We know that the last two outings to Broadwater have failed to produce much and despite the heavy frost, a rare occurance this winter, we only just reached double figures. There were no roving flocks of small finches and nothing visiting the feeders. Half of the captures were retraps, like Coat Tit Z548051.

5M Coal Tit Z548051

Total: 5 (5)
Goldcrest - 2
Coal Tit - 0 (1)
Blue Tit -1 (3)
Great Tit - 0 (1)
Long Tailed-Tit - 2

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

River Thames, Windsor - 10 February 2016

Every now and again we look for rings on the swans at Windsor. A few years ago this was mainly Darvics with a very few metal rings. Nowadays the darvics are fewer and fewer, althouth we did find most of the regulars including P2V, L3F, L3T - black on white with 29C, a very timid bird that took some time to read the complete ring as the number is printed around, rather than along the ring. There were three black on orange rings, 841,4ARJ, 4AZS, known to be from Mike Reed's study,relatively local to our area. There were were another 30 or so metal rings read, many familiar numbers but a few new ones too.

Favourites rings of the day were on a couple of Black-headed gulls.

 TLLN - ringed under the Polish scheme. Further details awaited.

2X23 -No firm details at present although we suspect it was marked in Reading, Berks.