Sunday, 12 September 2010

Sunday 12th September: Porthgwarra

Next morning at first light I was back yet again at Porthgwarra to look for the Melodious warbler once more. In addition, the wryneck had been seen again and a lapland bunting had been spotted yesterday morning on the cliffs by the coastguard look-out so there was plenty to look for. I checked out the trees where the warbler had been showing yesterday though without any luck so after I while I walked up to the Coastguard cottage for a snoop around (again no luck) and then on up to the look-out where I met a fellow birder who was also looking for buntings. Together we scoured the area, putting up all the meadow pipits in the process (there must have been at least 50). There was no sign of any buntings though we did have a calling tree pipit fly over by way of consolation.

I went back to the warbler spot and was just idly staring at the bushes again when the word went up that the wryneck had been seen again at the cottages. I nipped back to find several birders focused on a fence line from where it had flown down a couple of minutes ago. Thinking that it would probably return there I set up my scope and digiscoping gear in anticipation and sure enough a minute later it briefly showed on the fence again for a few seconds before disappearing once more. I managed to get just two shots off before it disappeared but they weren't too bad given the circumstances. I then when back to waiting for the warbler but it never showed and wasn't seen again that day.

A couple of record shots of the elusive wryneck whilst it was briefly on the fence

Back at the cottage I had to get the car loaded for a run to the recycling centre and then we had to pack and get ready for home. I did manage about ten minutes of sea watching at Pendeen Watch whilst on a break during which time, with a strong on-shore breeze, I saw hundreds of manxies and one arctic skua go through. Later it was reported that 15,000 manxies went through in five hours: an amazing 3,000 per hour!

After lunch we set off for home. As the sandpiper had disappeared from Davidstow, there was no need to persuade the rest of the family that they needed to make a detour on the way back to look at an abandoned airfield for a while: that would have been a rather hard sell anyway. Looking back on it, it had been a somewhat frustrating birding experience with many of the recent good birds having moved on before I arrived and the remaining ones proving rather elusive or at least not showing whilst I was free to go birding. Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed the sea watching at Gwenapp Head and no birding trip can be that bad when one gets a sighting of a wryneck. It really is such a wonderful part of the country and I can't wait to get back there again.

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