Friday, 31 May 2013

Leaving Day

It was my last day down in Cornwall and I had already had amazing birds like Pomarine Skua, Garganey and even Cirl Buntings and to finish the trip off I made one last visit to Lizard with my brother. Again we had to get up about 5:30 in the morning and there had been a huge party the night before in the flat so I hadn't properly gone to sleep until about 3 in the morning. When I woke up I felt a very ruff and a little homicidal toward the people who had been bashing on the door until 3 o'clock in the morning and not letting me sleep, but otherwise I was ready for the day. I almost fell asleep at the sea watch but I still managed to have a good look at my brothers very probable ARCTIC SKUA before me losing the bird again, luckily he had taken notes already so me losing the bird wasn't the end of the world. We also got the usual sea bird species along with good flight views of two Choughs again. This time they came very nice and close and fed right infront of me unfortunately with there backs facing me for 90% of the time.

Male House Sparrow


Great Tit

Female House Sparrow

I have been writing my posts up quite frequently so if you missed my last post about Cirl Buntings and a Garganey click HERE.

Some cornish delights

I and my brother headed off for some Cirl Buntings on the Wedensday and we managed to see 5 CIRL BUNTINGS 4 males and a female. Cirl Buntings are a schedule 1 breeding species and is in the red list so I will not be releasing any information. So please do not ask any questions. But on a less serious note they showed nicely and I got a few distant photos.

Cirl Bunting

Later that day when we got back to the flat after a long journey we were tipped off about a Garganey which was down at Swanpool which was a short trip by bus from Penryn. We immediately had our bags packed and headed down to the bus stop were we met another one of Samuel's friends who was doing the wildlife photography course in the Uni. After the bus journey and a medium walk we arrive at Swanpool and almost instantly located the drake GARGANEY. We watched it until about 9:05pm when it went to roost in the reeds on the South West end of Swanpool. That was two life ticks in one day!!! I got some record shots of the bird but nothing else because the light was going in.


I have been writing my posts up quite frequently so if you missed my last post about my trip to the well known peninsular Lizard click HERE.

Choughed at the Lizard

I was kindly given along with my brother a lift down to the well known peninsular named the Lizard. We headed down by car after a 5:30 wake up which gave us a kick start to our day. The trip down gave me a chance to properly wake up after only getting to bed later than 1 o'clock and by the time we had arrived I was ready for what lay ahead. Our birding started off by heading over to the very tip of the peninsular where we were immediately greeted by Fulmars, Gannets, and a wide variety of gulls but our main focus was what lay beyond them out to sea. As my brother set up his scope to view over the sea I took this opportunity to photograph the Fulmars which came delightfully close and gave great views with the waves breaking behind them.


Just as I had got the hang of chasing the Fulmars in my lens my brother shouted the words I had been hoping for "Pomarine Skua". It was a mad rush to get to the top of the cliff where a life tick was awaiting me. My brother explaining all the way about the plumage and the ID features which he could see. The short climb felt as if it took hours but when I arrived my brother complimented me on my speed that I had arrived in. I took a look through the scope and had my first proper view of the.... sea. Yes you read it right it was just the sea. After almost suffering from a heart attack the bird came into the frame, I first saw the Manx Shearwater and then the pale phase POMARINE SKUA came into the frame. All the ID features I could see on it was that it was a Skua. But in my rush to get to a more comfortable position to look through the scope I hit the tripod and lost the bird. I looked all over the sea to try and find it again but the search was fruitless, but my brother didn't mind and carried on with the sea watch. When my brother decided he wanted to look around I had a short view throught the scope where I saw a good amount of Guillimots (first for the year), Manx Shearwaters and some Gannets. After this my brother wanted to have a second go and had some good luck with a Great Skua and a fly past Great Northern Diver. Time was running out and I wanted to get some pictures of the Choughs so we headed over to the right place and instantly saw my first CHOUGHS for the year. They showed well but the rain ruined my chance for  good picture.


Luckily the sun came back out and an obliging Rock Pipit showed himself whilst I was waiting for the Choughs to return.

Rock Pipit

After the Lizard we were dropped off near Stithianes Reservoir where we were hoping to see a Grasshopper Warbler. To make a long story short we got drenched and had very restricted views of a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER and a few fly over Whimbrels.

I have been writing my posts up quite frequently so if you missed my last post about exploring my brothers local patch click here.

Introduction to the local patch

On the Sunday that I was down in Cornwall my brother had signed up to do a charity cycle ride from St. Ives to Penzance which left me on my own so instead of staying in my brothers flat all day I headed off with my parents to the world famous Eden Project. It was a very nice trip and very educational. When we left in the afternoon around 3 or 4 o'clock we met up with my brother and went down to the sea side to have a picnic. My brother had his scope with him so we did some sea watching as well. We looked over the sea for maybe about half an hour and during that time I managed to see a few hundred MANX SHEARWATERS my first for the year and a very nice Summer Plumaged Great Northern Diver. The next day the weather was terrible and we had no option but to stay indoors but when the weather cleared up we had a nice walk around my brothers local patch. The walk took about 2 hours and we passed lots scenic places until we got to College Reservoir where we had Swallows and Swifts flying about. I also had my first SAND MARTIN of the year.
We finished the day by going along the scenic route by the coast.

I have been writing my posts up quite frequently so if you missed my last post about Aylesbeare Common click here.

On the way down

In the late hours of Saturday morning me and my parents prepared for our journey down to Cornwall to visit my brother. The idea was for me to stay with my brother until Thursday whilst my parents stayed in a hotel for there wedding anniversary. Luckily I managed to persuade my parents to make a short stop off on the way down. It was late afternoon when we arrived at the windswept Aylesbeare Common RSPB. I hastily got all my camera equipment ready not wanting to lose anymore light then I already had. My mum decided to stay in the car whilst my dad came with me to see the bird which the reserve is well known for. We walked around the rolling hilltop heath land waiting to hear the call or song of this scarce breeding species. As we walked we caught glimpses of Stonechats flying past or sometimes perching on the top of the gorse bushes. We eventually encountered our first view of our target species when we had strayed into the middle of the reserve, with no background noise of cars driving past we managed to hear the distinctive drawn out 'chaihhrr' of a Dartford Warbler. We stayed around waiting for one to come out into the open and after a short wait a lovely colourful DARTFORD WARBLER came and sat on the top of a tree. My dad was overjoyed and was making noises much to the discomfort of me and probably the bird. But over the hour that I stayed waiting around we saw up to 2+ birds at one time just in one small area. Photography wise they showed well but the low sun distorted my auto focus and I was left with many rubbish pictures. The pictures below do not do this wonderful bird justice.

Dartford Warbler

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Robin nest

I have been lucky enough to have a Robin nesting right in front of my house. Today I had the first opportunity to take a few pictures of the Robins. Luckily disturbance wasn't a problem due to being inside the house and it had got used to human activity because it is nesting right outside my front door and that is not an exaggeration.

Because I'm on the computer for most of my spar time :) this is very convenient.


Sunday, 12 May 2013

A hirundous day

Sorry for the terrible pun of the title. But as the title suggests there were plenty of hirundins around the local patch today. I first had some Swallows flying over the farmland and shortly afterwards I had two House Martins drinking from a puddle in front of me. I also had a small flock of Swifts fly over of about 5+. The horrendous part of the day was, that is all I got after a 3 or more hours walking around my local patch.