Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Tuesday 7th December: Hayle & Carbis Bay

I had another meeting with the builder this morning but it was earlier than the previous day so there wasn't time for a sea watch before hand. The meeting took longer than anticipated so it wasn't until late morning that I was free from my duties. I wanted to do a bit more birding before heading back home and was thinking of heading over to the Hayle area to see what was about. On the way I popped into Drift reservoir to see if the two geese (a Greenland white-front and a genuine wild neck-ringed greylag were about) but they appeared to have gone and there was little of note there.

Down at Hayle I first visited the Leylant Saltings platform. There was plenty of excellent light though as it was low tide the birds were widely scattered and somewhat distant. There was nothing of particular note to be seen. There was supposed to be a curlew sandpiper about but the dunlin flock (where it was probably hiding) was right on the other side of the mud flats. I did a some brief digscoping of a nearby grey plover.

A grey plover at Hayle

Next on to Carbis Bay which I'd not previously been to but which turned out to be a great spot. From a vantage point in front of the hotel one could overlook the bay and easily see a wide area. There seemed to be some sort of feeding frenzy going on with a large concentration of gulls in two spots as well as quite a few seals and I guessed there must have been a couple of fish shoals there. Over on the left-hand side close to the rocks I soon spotted the red-necked grebe and in the same general area was a female-type eider which (according to the chap I was chatting with yesterday) is not so common in Cornwall. On the diver front there were three great northerns and a single distant red-throated. There was also a flock of gadwall, a single red-head goosander near the rocks and another flock of three red-headed sawbills which I didn't have time to check before they moved on. There were loads of cormorants and shags and a single razorbill. A couple of birders turned up, armed not with a scope but what looked like a giant pair of war-time binoculars mounted on a tripod. We soon got talking so I pointed out what I'd found. After a while it was time to move on.

Carbis Bay - the white dots are all gulls indulging in a feeding frenzy

There was one final spot that I wanted to check in on, mainly because I'd not actually been there before and I wanted to suss out parking etc. so that I knew where to go should a rarity turn up there and that was Carnsew Basin. I found somewhere local to park and had a little wander along the southern end. There was not much to see apart from a reasonable dunlin flock, a few bar-tailed godwits, a single oystercatcher and a few grey plover. On the water itself there were a few distant little grebes. I did some more brief digiscoping as the light was so good and then decided that it was getting late and I should be heading back

The Hayle estuary, looking back from the south end of the Carnsew Basin

A feeding bar-tailed godwit in Carnsew

The journey back was uneventful, though after a while I hit freezing fog and rather pretty hoarfrost on the trees which lasted up until the M4. Whilst travelling back I was listening to the traffic reports and being profoundly grateful that I wasn't up in Scotland! It had been a most enjoyable return to my favourite part of the country and a great opportunity to experience winter birding there.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff .. Not a bad part of the world down here in Cornwall