Saturday, 1 October 2011

Saturday 1st October: Polgigga Twice & Nanquidno

Today the weather was full-on gorgeous. There was none of the mist or fog and it was much calmer so it was great to be out and about. With nothing in particular that I wanted to chase down I was in no hurry to get out this morning so instead had an extended morning painting session and it wasn't until about 10:30 that I started to think about where I wanted to visit. With no RBA updates so far to provide any clues I decided that I would head over Polgigga way to see if I could find anything good myself. On the way I stopped in at Sennen Cove to check on the Snow Bunting but there was no sign of it. As I was driving through Sennen just near the church I spotted a Turtle Dove just by the side of the road though it flew off as I drove past.

I parked up at Trevilley and started walking over to Polgigga via the footpath that goes through Nanjizal valley. I soon came across a Clouded Yellow flitting around in one of the fields. On my journey I saw loads of Wheatears and there were plenty of Meadow Pipits buzzing around as well. I was particularly looking out for Short-toed Larks and rare pipits for which this area is a bit of a hot-spot though without any luck. I grilled all the starlings on the wires at the lane but there was no sign of the Rose-coloured Starling though it hadn't been seen yesterday either. Next I walked along the footpath that heads west from Higher Bosistow as a couple of Dotterel had been reported in the recently tilled field there. I soon found the field but the only occupants were more Wheatears and six Skylarks. There was nothing further of note on my return journey.

I got quite excited at seeing this Clouded Yellow.
By the end of the day I'd seen half a dozen or so and realised
that they weren't actually that unusual.

I know very little about dragonflies but I
believe that this is a Common Darter

I had been thinking of heading straight back home but news had come through that the Hawfinch had been showing again at Nanquidno so I popped into a shop to buy a sandwich & drink & decided to eat them at Nanquidno whilst starting at some Blackthorn bushes in case the Hawfinch should decide to pop out of them. I arrived to find the car parking area almost full and John Chapple there staring intently into the field opposite. It turn out that he was watching a trio of Yellow Wagtails which were following the horses around the field as is their wont. Yellow Wags are hard birds to come by in Cornwall so I was pleased to get this county tick. I went over to the Hawfinch area where in the company of a couple of visting birders we waited and watched. After a while I decided to try a bit further down and left the others. Soon after they started gesticulating wildly to me so I ran back only to discover that it had shown briefly but had disappeared again. Having seen the bird the other two went off but I stayed put, being joined by John, Laurie Williams and a few others whom I didn't know. We passed a very pleasant hour or so chatting away and during this time John picked out a pair of Redstarts on the hillside opposite, again not an easy bird to see in Cornwall and yet another Cornish tick. John said that he charged half a pint per county tick and a pint for a lifer so that was already a pint I owed him, an absolute bargain as far as I'm concerned. A number of siskins flew over and I saw four more Clouded Yellows whilst waiting for the finch so it was clearly a good day for them. Back in the car park the lovely Pied Flycatcher was showing again by the car. However my afternoon painting session was long overdue so I headed for home.

The Nanquidno Pied Flycatcher, still as lovely as ever!

I'd just walked in the door when I got a text from Dave Parker saying that there was a Tawny Pipit down at Polgigga. After a couple of phone calls, one to Dave and another to Paul St. Pierre, who'd actually found the bird, I decided that I would have to have a try for it though it was getting late and I'd still not done my afternoon painting. Still you can't turn down the chance of a Tawny Pipit so I sped back off towards Polgigga, parked at Trevilley once again and yomped quickly down to Nanjizal. I soon found the exact field were Paul had found the bird and spent a good hour searching carefully down each furrow but apart from a load of Wheatears there was nothing else. There was one moment of excitment when one of the Wheatears started flying low and fast towards me. At first I couldn't work out what was going on until suddenly a Sparrowhawk appeared and took the Wheatear in a puff of feathers before flying off with his prize. A sad end to such a lovely bird but very exciting to see the hawk make its kill. As it was getting dark I eventually headed back to the car, scouring the other large earth field carefully on my way back but to no avail. Back home I had to put in a good evening painting session to compensate for such a long day out but with two county ticks I couldn't really complain.

Back by popular demand (well Badger likes it) is the "Moth du Jour" section. Today's offering is a Setaceous Hewbrew Character (ID as always courtesy of John Swann). My mothing consistes of turning on the outside light in the evening, catching what I find in the area in a glass, taking it inside to photograph and then releasing it again.

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