Friday, 31 October 2014

Friday 31st October: Pendeen, Penberth & Drift

Today was out last full day down here so it was a bit piecemeal. First of all the wind was forecast to increase dramatically overnight so that it was showing 28 mph+ on the BBC weather chart. I sent an e-mail to John Swann asking whether he thought that it might be a suitable day for Porthgwarra sea-watching but he replied that in his opinion after August it's only worth sea-watching at Pendeen. As well as an interesting nugget of knowledge to tuck away, this was also a bit of a relief as my VLW had indicated that she wouldn't be too pleased if I were to slope of sea-watching all morning so it wasn't really going to be on the cards anyway.

Despite the near gale-force winds I ran the moth trap last night and was amazed that
I actually caught this Angled Shades and a Feathered Ranunculus

In the end I did the Pendeen rounds in the strong winds with just the Merlin below the lighthouse to show for my efforts - even the Mipits had deserted their usual field. I did try a token fifteen minutes sea watching at the lighthouse though of course it was useless. Then it was back to the cottage to get cracking on finishing off our various tasks. 

After a makeshift lunch of whatever was left over in the fridge we kicked around a few idea about what to do. No one was particularly enthusiastic about anything so in the end, prompted by an RBA text reporting the continued presence of two Yellow-browed Warblers at Penberth, I suggested that I drop the two of them off at Penzance for a spot of shopping whilst I went on to do a bit of birding before rendezvousing at 4pm for afternoon tea. This plan was acceptable to all so that's what we did. After the drop-off I headed over to Penberth, a valley that I'd not been to for several years though we did stay there one year before we got our place. Actually we've stayed in most places in Cornwall over the years including Faraway Cotttage and Three Chimneys at Porthgwarra, Mowhay Barn at Trevillley, Chmoy Mill at Penberth, Cover Point at St. Buryan, somewhere at Zennor and a Landmark Trust place at Lower Porthmeor - but I digress. Back at Penberth I parked up at the turning circle and within a few minutes I'd heard a Yellow-browed Warbler calling. After about ten or so minutes I managed to get lovely views of it - I never tire of these gorgeous birds. Also seen were a Chiffy and a flock of 17 Redwings but I didn't linger for long to look around. Having seen what I came for and with some time on my hands before my rendezvous I decided to stop off at Drift Reservoir on the way back. The Ring-necked Duck had been reported "no sign" this morning though there had been a Long-tailed Duck reported there instead which would be nice to see.

I parked up at the reservoir car park and wandered over to the hide, stopping off to admire and scrutinise the large gull flock on the water though there was nothing out of the ordinary within it. At the hide I could see no sign of either rarer duck though I noticed that the water level was even lower than when I'd been there a couple of weeks ago and I wasn't altogether surprised that the RN Duck had moved on. As I was leaving the hide a wader flew up from the corner of the NW arm. It's size, dark back and pale squared-off rump marked it out as a Green Sandpiper though in the split second view that I got of the rump, did it look a bit "dirty"? I watched it as it flew low and appeared to land in the fields below Sancreed though I didn't get any other rump views. Sadly, it was time to head back now but as I walked I gave Dave Parker (who does Drift regularly) a call just mentioning that he might want to look out for the Sandpiper to see if he could get a better view of the rump.It was probably  just a Green Sand but on the back of Hurricane Gonzalo, it wasn't impossible that a Solitary Sand might have made its way over - worth checking out anyway.

I got back to the car and headed for Penzance where I met up with the rest of the family. We then made our way over to the supermarkets for a quick cup of tea and to buy some food for this evening's dinner. Then it was back home to the cottage to get ready to depart bright and early tomorrow morining. It had been quite a nice afternoon's birding in the end to round off the week.

On yesterday's walk I came across this flower which turns out to be Musk Storksbill,
a relatively scarce flower that is found mainly in coastal areas.

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