Thursday, 27 October 2011

27th October: Lizard & Oldbury-on-Severn

Today was my last day down in Cornwall and I was due to pack up and head off home. The weather was once more pretty appalling with grey skies and constant rain though with little wind to speak of. There was of course the decision of what to do as I headed home and I had been wondering about having another crack at the Pallas's warbler. However the previous evening news had broken of a bufflehead on a small pond just south of Lizard village and I thought that this would be a better target than the troublesome warbler as it would either be there or it wouldn't so there would be no waiting around for Luke to endure. It was also of course a far rarer Cornish bird than the warbler.

I did hear from Dave Parker that it had flown off at 8:30 but that it could return. However I decided to have a go for it anyway and fortunately en route it was reported on RBA as being present. We found the spot without any problems and I took a few photos in the gloomy and rainy conditions whilst Luke messed around taking photos with my other camera. It was a pretty small pond that this bird had stumbled upon and though it was diving fairly constantly it didn't seem to be coming up with any fish at all.

The female/immature bufflehead
For some much better photos see Steve Rogers' site

After a short while we decided to head back to the car and on northwards towards home. En route I thought that it would be positively rude of me not to stop in to pay my respects to the female pied wheatear at Oldbury-on-Severn especially as I would be going right past it. We arrived mid afternoon to find the weather conditions just as grey and rainy as before. A fifteen minute walk found us at the yacht club building which was situated at a gloomy but very atmospheric location by the Severn estuary. With the tide right out there was a large expanse of mud and the dark overhanging cloud and drizzle gave it a very desolate air. Fortunately the pied wheatear was very reliable and was keeping faithful to a small circuit around various vantage points from which it would make regular flycatching sorties. It quite unconcerned by the attendant birders though there were only about half a dozen others, which was understandable given the time of day and the weather conditions. At one point the wheatear landed on a sign not two yards from where I was standing and it was a shame that the conditions were so poor as it would have made a great photographic subject. As it was the gloom and the rather bedraggled state of the bird meant that my photos were more record shots than works of art though at least one was able to get good close views.

The very confiding but rather bedraggled female pied wheatear

After a while I decided to continue home on my journey and given where we were starting off from for a change I chose to go up the M5 and back home via the A40, a route that I know well from visiting Slimbridge. I arrived back home early evening, tired but content with having seen some good birds today.

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