Thursday, 29 September 2016
Monday, 26 September 2016
Dad's 60th Birthday Present
Sunday, 25 September 2016
Also on the Estuary today in addition to Wednesday were 37 Grey Plover, 6 Knot, 1 Ruff, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank and 7 Sandwich Tern...
I was up bright and early this morning , with heavy rain overnight and 20-30mph westerly winds forecasted I was very hopeful of a good sea watch. In fact I was probably too keen as when I arrived at Trevose it was still fairly dark! Still it gave me time to walk down to the headland and set my telescope up and get comfortable . I started counting at 7am and for the first hour things were fairly quiet except for masses of Gannets heading west and a few Balearic Shearwaters . Then at around 08;05 A.M I picked up a Shearwater trailing a typical Balearic that looked very interesting and my gut instinct was that it could well be a Yelkouan Shearwater . In the lovely neutral light and at a close enough distance that I didn't need to zoom in with the scope I had already noted it's sleeker profile than the 'pot bellied' Balearic in front and what had made me really start to concentrate was that I had seen a few Manxies in the last few minutes that showed typically blackish upperparts and yet this bird was showing a distinct brown tinge to the upperparts. My mind switched on to all the I.D features I could remember and in particular to the excellent talk I had listened to at this years Birdfair from Mike Langman and how he recalled Britain's first Yelkouan in the field. Like Mike I was more inclined to rule out an odd Manx Shearwater, this bird didn't remind me of Balearic in structure or flight style at any point ( the Balearics were powering through whilst this bird gluided through on stiff wings like a Manx and yet when it did flap it's wings , the wing beats appeared to be slightly more purposeful than the butterfly like Manx Shearwater). I knew viewing time would be short so I zoomed up to get more on it. Undertail coverts , definitely dusky and contrasting with it's white belly. It had a nice set of wing linings too! They joined up with the dark leading and trailing edge of the wing , which in itself showed no noticeable difference to a typical Manx in thickness ( I always think that these thicker dark patterns on a Balearic are very noticeable and even on a pale Balearic it makes the whiter middle part of the wing look much smaller than on a Manx type Shearwater, this sounds long winded but it's a great way of picking the paler birds out). I couldn't see the feet projecting which was a shame and I can't say for sure I noticed much with the face pattern so in the last 10 seconds or so I tried and failed to video it through the scope! I'm happy it was a Yelkouan though, the second one I have claimed, but understand that without pictures I won't get that far with BBRC.
Still I was buzzing and things where heating up! Much more Gannets were moving and at last a bit of variety had started to come though... Boom! A juvenile Sabines Gull with 10 Arctic Terns ( both year ticks ). A late Great Shearwater followed immediately by a Little Auk tagging along with it's larger cousins. A few Sooty's powering through in the distance , you can't beat a good sea watch! In a flash my 4 hours had passed and it was time to pack up , an excellent morning with the only disappointment being a lack of small Skuas... Although I was on my own so I could've missed them....
Final totals in 4 hours were:
1 Drake Common Scoter
1 Great Shearwater
2 Sooty Shearwater
113 Manx Shearwater
1 Yelkouan Shearwater
29 Balearic Shearwater
1 Bar-tailed Godwit
5 Great Skua
1 Little Auk
1 Juv Sabines Gull
1 Juv Common Tern
14 Arctic Tern
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
I also bumped into the local bird group that organize a walk every Wednesday along the estuary. It was nice to catch up with a few birders that I hadn't seen in several months , Allen , Jack and Pete's pasty mate Bernard ( only Pete Roseveare will know what I am on about! It involves a ' discussion' about the best pasty in Cornwall , all I will say is don't argue with Pete when it comes to food and particularly pasties! He gets emotional and you are risking your life!).
As I walked towards Wadebridge I noticed a large group of small gulls resting and loafing on the mud and waters edge , keen to find some colour rings I started to scan through and read a 1st Winter Meditteranean Gull from the Czech Republic ! ZKN2 was ringed on the 5th June as a chick this year at Senov,Volensky Fishponds and has also been seen on the River Caen in Devon. To think that in just a few weeks it has traveled more than 2000 miles is quite staggering!
great to hear that one of the Dunlin we ringed recently is now in Cornwall. Whilst I'm sure that this is a bird ringed on the Dyfi Estuary just north of Borth, Ceredigion in September this year I'm afraid the inscription you read is not correct so I cannot tell you which bird it was exactly! The ring would have been alpha,number,number reading down the leg. So far we have only used H**, and N**.
Any chance you might be down there again in the near future? Is so please have another go at getting the code.
We only started colour-ringing Dunlin here this month and yours is only the second sighting and the first away from the Dyfi.
Many thanks again,
After birding on the Camel Estuary I had a quick look from the hide at Walmsley Sanctuary but it was pretty dead here, in fact I only noted 31 Wigeon and 1 Shoveler amongst the Mallard,teal and Canada Geese...
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Bob was parked up raring to go well before dawn and I was on schedule despite the serious nature of my symptoms (if anyone sees my other half please let her know how close to death I was). The forecast was promising and I was hopeful of some migrants passing through.
As soon as the first nets were opened I thought we could be in for a good morning as we seemed to catch a steady trickle of Blackcap from the get go, ending the morning on 41. Several of these birds had good fat and muscle scores, the heaviest weighing it 22.5 grams. A good 3 grams over the average of 19 grams that most of the others weighed in at. Another interesting observation was that only 12 of the total caught were female birds. I would be delighted to learn why the sex ratio is not a little more even? A steady stream of Chiffchaff was also apparent with a total of 13 ringed. I was also pleased to pick up 6 new Goldcrest, the first significant catch of new birds I have had since last Winter. A re trap that I ringed last September also turned up. I find these long term absentees often leave me asking more questions about its time away than I ever find the answers for. I was pleased with the first Reed Bunting of the Autumn and I hope to work with this species more throughout the winter. (Any info on roost sites would be greatly appreciated). A re trap Marsh Tit also added variety and seemed to be doing well and in good condition. We finished the morning on 72 new birds and 5 re traps.
Bob and I also had a little evening session on some farmland near to his house last night. An area we knew to be good for birds, but unexplored and time needed to work out net locations etc.
We opted for a line of 3 x 60 ft nets and experimented with Linnet and Yellowhammer on the speakers. This resulted in the successful catch of 3 of each species. As the evening drew on we changed the speaker and tried for Swallow. Ending the evening with a grand total of 2! Not the greatest number ever caught but it was nice to process all 3 as I do not currently ring many of each species. We also had the chance to discuss net placement and feel that next time we try the area some gentle tweaks will optimise our catching potential. We will keep you posted on our progress within the area.
Thank you very much for the report about Common Ringed Plover NSU. Its
life history you find in the attachment. In the end of the attachment
you find information about other colour ringing projects we work with,
Kjell Mork Soot
Thank you very much for taking the time to report to us details of the sighting of a flagged Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula). Information about this bird and its movement is given below:
Ring no: Stavanger 8B45217
Yellow flag NSU (Left tarsus metal ring. Left tibia: red colour ring. Right tibia: yellow flag with three black letters NSU engraved). :LAR:LBM:RAYN(NSU)F
Age/sex/biometric: M2K+ ( male, hatched 2013 or before).Wing134 mm. Weight: 47,4 g.
Ringing date: 31.08.2014, 10 hrs.
Ringing place: Makkevika (62*30'N-006*02'E) Giske, Giske, Møre & Romsdal, Norway.
Remarks: Caught in mist net at our wader station (Giske Ornithological Station).
Ringer: Kjell Mork Soot / Sunnmøre Ringing Group.
Finding date: 10.09.2016.
Observed: Davidstow Airfield (50*39'N-004*36W) Cornwall, England
Remarks: Observed by Robert Bosisto.
Distance:1465 km SSW. Direction: 211 deg.Time : 2-0-10 (2 years-10 days after ringing).
Sunday, 18 September 2016
Starting at the dam car park we soon noticed a large gathering of gulls on the opposite bank and quickly noted a Colliford speciality:
Adult Yellow-legged Gull : The yellow legs aren't the best thing to check or look for. Mantle colour is key; a bluish grey ( almost Common Gull like in colour) which is slightly darker than a Herring Gull's and lighter than a Lesser black backed Gull's mantle. Structure is also vital to learn, they tend to be large birds with a big square shaped head and a powerful hook tipped bill.
There is a Yellow -legged Gull in this picture, can you spot it?
Yellow-legged Gull is still a scarce bird in Cornwall but I think over the last 10 years their numbers have increased markedly . I would say Colliford is the best place in Cornwall to see one ( we had 3 adults and a second summer today) but any flock of gulls is worth grilling and once you get your eye in you will start picking the odd one out. A good tip is that Lesser black Backed Gull's seem to be a good carrier species rather than Herring Gull , possibly because of their more migratory instincts.
Whilst I was still scanning the gulls ( I have a problem! I am gull crazy!) Pete was busy scanning the shoreline for waders and soon picked out 2 Turnstone, 5 Dunlin and 5 Ringed Plover as well as 14 White Wagtail amongst the scores of Pied Wagtails. We also watched in awe as a juvenile Peregrine powered across the water in pursuit of a Dunlin only to be mobbed itself by a smart juvenile Hobby! Birding can be all or nothing sometimes!
Continuing around the lake with little else to note we arrived at Loveney and began to walk down to the waters edge. This has been the best place for waders all Autumn and after an hour or so of hard searching we had our yankee reward! A stunning juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper , a year tick for Pete and the bird of the day . Other waders included a Greenshank, 12 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin. All in all we spent 3.5 hours at Colliford and if you put the time in here you get a reward , a great afternoon's birding!
Saturday, 17 September 2016
Friday, 16 September 2016
Yesterday I was a poorly boy 😩! A visit to the doctors confirmed a chest infection and sinusitis! I am tired, weak and to top it off the worst person in the world for sitting or lying in bed and taking it easy!
Davidstow was just up the road from the doctors and I felt an hour sat in the car was no different to an hour in front the TV, and surely healthy fresh air was better for me than stale sick bed air?
On arrival at the airfield it was apparent there were good numbers of Northern Wheatear present. I never try and take this species for granted as they are just beautiful and are one of our longest travelling passerines, wintering in sub-saharran Africa.
I then pursued the waders and soon encountered some Ringed Plovers and Dunlin. In this small flock the Buff-breasted Sandpiper was foraging and fantastic to see on the ground as my previous encounter with it was far too brief.
Thursday, 15 September 2016
Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Bob and I discussed our after work options for today, last night and with forecasted conditions struggled to make a solid plan. Wind and weather were poor and with only 2 hours of bird able light we couldn't travel to far. My gut feeling was that Davidstow should harbour a wader or two and with little else to go with this became the game plan. Chips down and both ready on time (a rarity in itself), we excelled at pace in Bobs silver bullet (aka the little Kia car) arriving at Camelford in good time. Grey and dreary but nevertheless some moderate visibility "we may find some birds" I thought! Then Disaster! As we turn off the main road near the airfield a thick blanket of fog engulfs us, the car and our hopes of finding any noteworthy waders . Bemused and disheartened we proceed steadily up the run way. We both pick up distant Wagtails and Wheatears, "well we are on point, there is still a chance of finding something" I muttered. Our first few hundred yards were relatively quite and it seemed to take forever to locate anything noteworthy. Then a couple of Ringed Plover made their presence known by calling to one another as we approached. Then we found our first goody in the shape of a juvenile dung dabbling Turnstone. Not the rarest bird in the world but only my 2nd and Bobs 1st on the airfield (20 years combined total checking it). We spent some time admiring it foraging in the horse dung before carrying on our wader quest.
Monday, 12 September 2016
An early morning jaunt for Bob and I, from North to West Cornwall was a necessary evil to ensure we were in deepest darkest Nanjizal before dawn. With turbulent weather of late, migrant passerines have been thin on the ground. This mornings forecast looked much more promising! Little wind throughout the night and some cloud cover all appeared to good too be true, could a goody be lurking out there? And more importantly, were our British migrants going to have a chance to part from our shores for sunnier climes?
Thank fully the first net round rewarded us with a much needed year tick in the form of a juvenile Pied Flycatcher, and a cracking Spotted for comparison.