Monday, 23 March 2015

Saturday 21st March: Hayle & Pendeen

I awoke far too early this morning, especially given how hard we'd been working yesterday. Rather than just lie there in bed until it was time to crack on with the DIY I decided to get up and pay another visit to Hayle to see if I could actually see the gulls properly. It was a lovely sunny and calm morning as I sped over the deserted roads towards PZ and then on to the estuary, arriving shortly after 7 a.m. The tide was right in this time and all the birds were tucked in the corner near the station platform though as I started looking through them the gulls at least started to move out onto the water. There were also a few waders to look through and I managed to turn up 2 Grey Plovers, a Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank, 2 Dunlin and several dozen Redshank. I searched carefully through the gulls several times from all possible vantage points and can say that I looked at every single bird there but there was nothing of interest. Satisfied that there was nothing I was missing I headed back to the cottage for some breakfast and to crack on with the day's work.

Gulls at Hayle
Today I was working outside again though thankfully the weather was perfect and it was a treat to be outdoors in such a location. The Ravens were still about and the tinkling of Goldfinches and Linnets offered a constant accompaniment to my work. During my coffee break I did the moth trap and was rewarded with a couple of new garden ticks - not that that's hard with my cottage garden list under 100 moths. The two new ones were March Moth and Diurnea Fagella.

Diurnea Fagella
March Moth
To have a break from the work I did have a little wander about the general area to see what spring flowers were about. 

Three-cornered Garlic
There was even some Western Ramping-fumitory flowering in the sheltered spots.
This species is indigenous to the far south west
Navelwort - so called because it looks like a navel
We worked hard all morning. I was just getting to a natural stopping point and thinking about lunch when a text came through on RBA of the 2w American Herring Gull again near St Just that morning. This bird had been found by M.A. at Drift about a week ago but had not been seen since. I went to consult my map and RBA on the computer. It turned out that it had been reported last thing yesterday evening on RBA as having been around for an hour and a half later afternoon as well. Consulting the map it turned out to be literally just five minutes up the road. I decided to go and find out more and hurried off for a look. 

I headed off in the right general directions and then gave P&H a call to find out the exact location - they were able to point me to the correct vantage point by the entrance to Botrea Farm. I arrived to find M.A. by his car. The field in question turned out to be a distant large ploughed field down in the valley near Jericho Farm just by the Pendeen turn-off. Sadly all the gulls had flown off and M.A. suggested that coming back again late afternoon might be the best tactic. I quizzed him for some details and thanked him for his help before heading back to the cottage, resolving to come back late afternoon should the workload allow it.

My VLW and I worked solidly for much of the afternoon. A decorator came round to discuss doing some of the work next week that we weren't able to do ourselves and we showed her what needed doing. Late afternoon I'd done all the things that I wanted to do and we needed to go and buy some paint for the decorator's work so I headed back to PZ, deciding to stop in at the gull spot en route to see what the situation was. There I met another birder scoping the field but he lamented that it was so far, the light so bright and there was so much heat haze that it was a near impossible task. I set up my scope and could only agree - it was going to be impossible to pick out the subtle features of an AHG in such conditions. The other bloke soon left to be replaced by P&H - it was nice to see the two of them again. I briefly got excited when I picked out one HG gull that seemed to have a red bill! Excitedly I pointed it out to the other two though when it turned its head the other way the bill was clearly yellow. It just showed how hard it was to read colours in the bright light. P&H decided to give up and I chose to head on into PZ to do my shopping and then return to see if it was any better. At that moment a "reported possible" Purple Heron came on the pager at St Leven by a wet field next to the playing field. Hmm, there were no playing fields at St Leven proper, did they mean Polgigga? It was all very vague. P&H decided to check it out and promised to tell me if they could find it. Meanwhile I headed over to B&Q for my paint and then Sainsbury's for some provisions. P&H reported back "no sign" and I headed back to the gull spot. There I found M.A.'s car parked up but no sign of him. I wondered whether he had a better vantage point that he was using - it was hard to see how he'd managed to ID the gull otherwise. I had a quick scope and whilst the light wasn't quite as harsh as before the conditions were still too difficult. Defeated I headed back to base where I finished off a few tasks and then we had something to eat. That evening we did some touching up of the interior paintwork before collapsing into bed. It had been a long and exhausting day with what seemed to be a recurring theme on this trip of trying to look at gulls that were too far away.

The ubiquitous Red Chestnut
Common Quaker

1 comment:

  1. Hi Adam
    Sorry to disappoint but the photo of Diurnea fagella is one of the Scopariines.