Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Trip Retrospective

I like to have a retrospective at the end of my trips down to Cornwall, a chance for me to reflect on the visit and its highs and lows. From the Cornish birding point of view this has been rather a quiet one with not much around, in fact only a bufflehead and a ring-necked duck. The RN duck was very photogenic but wasn't even a year tick for me (not that I actively year list) as I'd seen the St. Stithian's bird earlier in the year. Nevertheless it was a very handsome bird and it gave nice close views.

Another photo of the ring-necked duck

The main disappointment for me was that I missed the fall in dusky warblers. As I had suspected, the clear cold night the day I came down cleared them all off and I spent a couple of fruitless days slogging around the Lizard after birds which had actually gone. Still I learnt about some new birding sites on the Lizard and got to know a few of the Lizard local birders. As far as getting to grips with the dusky warbler calls, I have since come across this video on the fabulous ScillySpider blog which helped me with exactly what sort of "tick" noise it makes.

Two Dusky Warblers Calling on Lower Moors (c) Kris Webb

The other main local birding highlight was the sea-watching session at Pendeen where the poor grey phalarope was plucked from the sea by a peregrine. The close views of the skuas were also very enjoyable.

Of course as well as the local birding there was the small matter of the en route twitching. Now, I'm not a great twitcher as a rule but I'm finding that breaking up the long journey to and from Cornwall is a great way of seeing some nice birds and this trip excelled on this front with the sharp-tailed sandpiper, the desert wheatear and the Hume's leaf warbler all being most enjoyable interludes which I probably wouldn't have otherwise got to see. As far as the bird of the trip award is concerned I think that it will have to go to the fabulously confiding desert wheatear as much for the picturesque setting as for the gorgeous bird itself.

The Bird of the Trip: the cold weather cleared it out as
well so I was lucky to see it on it's last day there

I'll have to come down again in December to finish things off for the cottage which "goes live" for holiday lets in January. As always I can't wait to be back.

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