Friday, 17 October 2014

16th October: Rame Head

As I mentioned yesterday, I'd been thinking about leaving today and I went to bed having resolved so to do. However the night didn't go very well: I was woken up by my drunken house guests in the middle of the night who were talking in that loud way that drunk people do when they think they're being quiet. Rather than getting up and trudging upstairs to ask them to keep the noise down I tried to ring the mobile phone of my brother-in-law's, who is called David. However, in my sleep-befuddled state I inadvertently rang the wrong David and ended up waking up poor old Dave Parker instead - I was mortified to have done such a thing! Anyway, I didn't get much more sleep that night and in the end got up at 7 am and started to pack. I did do a lighting round of Pendeen but came up with little more than a few Meadow Pipits, a couple of Pied Wagtails and a Chiffchaff. My rather contrite and hung-over brother-in-law was there to see me off though there was no sign of his friend as I hit the highway at around 10am leaving them to lock up.

I didn't run the trap last night but I found this moth lurking by the
front door. From it's obscure markings and pale underwing
I think it's a Pearly Underwing

As usual on my return journey I decided to stop off en route so resolved first to try Buttermilk Hill for my arch nemesis the Ring Ouzel seeing as there had been a smattering of birds in Cornwall yesterday. I had just arrived at the car park when I got a text from Philary saying that they'd found a couple of them at Land's End by the cycle track. Doh! Once again I had managed to be a in the wrong place at the wrong time for this species. Never mind, at least there might be some on the hill. However, I'd just got tooled up and was starting to walk up the slope when I met Buttermilk stalwart Viv Stratton and a fellow birder coming down having seen no Ouzels at all. Drat! Well at least they'd saved me a fruitless search. Time to resume my journey.

For my next stop I had a choice of two birds which had been freshly discovered up-county yesterday. One was a very approachable American Golden Plover at Davidstow and the other was a Red-breasted Flycatcher at the coastguard cottages at Rame Head. Having already come on the pager the Plover was pretty much a sure thing whereas the Flycatcher was going to be much more uncertain. However, unlike the Plover I still needed the Flycatcher for Cornwall so in the end that decided it for me. I knew from past experience when I successfully twitched an Iberian Chiffchaff at Rame Head, that it was a long slog to get there and so it proved but I eventually arrived at the rather windswept and grey location and parked up near the cottages. I had a wander around and met one of the residents who kindly gave me permission to go down the side area to the garden at the back to have a look around. I even met up with a local birder who had a look with me but despite this back-garden access and our combined searching skills there was no sign of the bird. The local told me of a couple of Yellow-browed Warblers back in the Sycamore copse by the church so I wandered over to have a look but I couldn't find them in the half an hour I gave myself. Then it was back to the car and a chance to have my packed lunch.

I had been vaguely thinking of trying for the Davidstow Plover afterwards but it was about 2pm already and I was feeling shattered from my lack of sleep so in the end common sense prevailed and I headed for home. It was a bit of a struggle staying alert for the journey but with the radio for company I managed to arrive home safely in one piece for a most welcome cup of tea and a chance to chat with my VLW. Sadly, it had been a rather frustrating and fruitless return journey and the whole lack of sleep incident had rather soured the day for me.

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