Today I had a number of tasks to do including cutting the grass in the garden and also interviewing a few gardeners so that someone else could tend to the grass going forward. With the gardeners due to arrive at around midday I decided that I would nip out first thing and then get on with my various chores on my return. There had been nothing of particular note reported yesterday to tempt me elsewhere so, despite my lack of success previously, I decided to have another go at Kenidjack for the Night Heron.
This morning the wind had dropped away and it was an absolutely gorgeous spring day as I made my way down the valley. There was plenty of bird activity and chiffchaffs were singing everywhere. From my visit yesterday I knew where to look and methodically started to work my way down the valley. About half way down I got an RBA text reporting the Night Heron between the chimney ruin and the donkey paddock. I immediately made my way there and worked my way along this rather small stretch. Needless to say there was no sign of the bird but as the path was rather close to the stream I assumed that the reporter must have flushed the bird in the process of finding it. All this meant that I was none the wiser and would still have to re-find it for myself. I was just working my way down the South side of the valley just below the Mill Pond when I flushed something from the small clump of trees in the stream just below the Pond. It flew a short distance into the trees directly underneath the Pond and during this flight I was able to get a good view of it. It was a small heron but rather than being the smart plumage of an adult Night Heron instead it was a rather grubby and streaky brown all over (without any wing patches) - a first summer Night Heron which had therefore to be a different bird from the adult! I tried to re-find it in the clump of trees into which I'd seen it fly but despite viewing from all angles on both sides of the stream I couldn't get a sight of it. As I made my way back to the car I bumped into Hiliary and her husband, fellow regular visitors to Cornwall whom I'd met previously. They were looking for the Night Heron and apparently had tried without success several times previously. I told them of my find and made my way back to the car. After that I had to nip into Penzance for some minor shopping and then get back to the cottage before the first gardener arrived.
The next few hours were spent chatting to gardeners, strimming the small patch of grass outside the house and doing various minor chores. Periodically I would spot a warbler flitting about in the tamerisk in the garden. Usually they were chiffies but on one occasion a singing willow warbler nearby prompted me to go and find it - my first of the year. The second gardener never even bothered to turn up so in the end I gave up and decided to head out for an afternoon birding session. The first item on the list was the small matter of a little ringed plover which had been reported at Marazion Marsh late morning. Now back in Oxon, LRP's are pretty common but down in Cornwall they're mainly only seen on return passage and then only in small numbers so this was a bird that I still needed for my fledgling Cornish list. I arrived at about the same time as one of the local birders who soon picked the bird out right in front of the viewing area by the main road. We both took a few distant photos and whilst chatting my companion informed me of a couple of Hoopoes at the Brew Pool which had not been reported on RBA. I'd been thinking of heading over to the Lizard to try and catch up with this species but these were much closer and there were two of them so I decided to try for them instead.
Little Ringed Plover - not so common in Cornwall
I'd only been to the Brew Pool once before when Luke, my five year old, had been a baby when I'd pushed him down the track in his all terrain buggy so it was a nice chance to get to know the area a bit better. I parked near the First and Last Inn and took the path towards the Pool, stopping to check all the likely fields on the way. At the Pool I bumped into Brian Field who'd been watching one of the birds just a few minutes before I arrived but had just lost track of it. After a while we managed to refind it inside the sewerage works, working it's way along the short grass along the fence. I took a few record shots though they were largely into the sun and also partially through the fence. Whilst watching the bird we got chatting and it turned out that both of our wives were artists. He was telling me about the gallery in St. Ives that his wife was working at and also how much they enjoyed living in Cornwall, having moved down about four and a half years ago. As this is a topic that my VLW and I discuss from time to time I was keen to hear how he'd found it: they both had no regrets on this front. After chatting about the Cornish birding scene for a while we parted company. I made my way contentedly back to the cottage in order to get on with my remaining chores. After the disappointment of yesterday it had been a highly successful day with what was technically a self-found Night Heron topping the bill.
Brew Pool Hoopoe