Thursday, 13 October 2016

Day 6 - Wrong choices , weird Wigeon and Waders

Things can't always go to plan when you go birding and it's fair to say me and Pete made the wrong choice in going to the Lizard today, it was very windy and hard going and I think we got carried away by Tuesdays excellent day here. Pete Maker always used to say to me how difficult a place it is to predict and I get what he is saying now... Still we had a good laugh ( I'm pretty sure I saw an Ewok in somebodies car ! Nearly ended up in a hedge as Pete drove like a ( bad ) rally driver and heard all about the eerie dead miners in Soapy Cove from an ' interesting' local :p ) and we had some reasonable counts of migrant birds including: 1 Common Snipe, 2 Stock Dove, 18 Woodpigeon, 3 Chough, 35 Skylark, 37 Swallow, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 3 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 23 Starling, 2 Grey Wagtail, 41 Pied Wagtail, 159 Meadow Pipit, 4 Reed Bunting, 73 Chaffinch, 3 Bullfinch, 13 Greenfinch, 3 Siskin, 18 Goldfinch and 55 Linnet.

A pick me up was needed and it came in the shape of a full English breakfast from Sainsburys in Helston , it was by far the highlight of the morning! We then wanted to have a better look at Devoran this afternoon and also check out Tresillian but as the tide was still out we had an hour to spare so we nipped into the hide at Stithians....

I started scanning through the ducks ( as I always do everywhere!) when I came across this interesting drake Wigeon:  ( you can click on all three pics and they will enlarge) .

It was a long way off , on the opposite shoreline but my first feeling was that it could be a drake American Wigeon, as you can see ( right hand bird ) in the terrible photo's I took it shows a much greyer head than the Eurasian drakes near to it , it also shows a prominent green blaze through the eye stretching to the back of its neck and a very obvious cream coloured forehead ( hence the American nickname of 'bald pate'). However as it came out into the open and I got clearer views:

It had grey coloured flanks ( 2nd bird from the right) which is a Eurasian Wigeon feature ( they would be browny/ pink in American). It flapped it's wings on one occasion and the axiliaries looked white,  but the distance and bright light made it hard to be sure of this , all in all I'm guessing it's a hybrid between the two - definately with some American Wigeon genes in it, so close but no cigar! Still a good learning bird and I'm feeling pretty sharp with Wigeon so hopefully I will find another yankee in the Winter). We also saw 1 Pintail , 1 Shoveler, 68 Wigeon, 1 Tufted Duck and 1 Dunlin with an added bonus of two colour ringed birds , a Herring Gull W:001 ( ringed in Falmouth ) and a Cormorant ( TBY - ringed on Mullion Island ) , thanks to Mark Grantham for replying to Pete so quickly...

From here we spent a few hours at Devoran and Tresillian searching for waders and getting a nice list and a good variety for the time of year , counts included:


118 Curlew ( including a colour ringed bird - will post when we hear back )
1 Spotted Redshank
1 Knot
1 Juv Curlew Sandpiper
23 Dunlin


2 Curlew Sandpiper
1 Whimbrel
1 Spotted Redshank
1 Water Rail
1 Kingfisher

Our last mission for the day was to set the nets up for a ringing session on the Goss Moor early tomorrow morning, I have to say we could be in for a bag full as when we were setting up we heard 2 Willow Tit, 1 Marsh Tit, 1 Treecreeper , 1 Redpoll and plenty of Crests and Phylloscs.... Fingers crossed we catch something special....


  1. Cormorant TBY was ringed on Mullion Island

  2. Thanks for pointing that out Simon , will get that changed ... cheers , Bob

  3. I missed a potential Danish BH Gull at Stiths yesterday. Yellow ringed, convinced it had three digits only, flew off as soon as I found it

  4. Me and Pete read a yellow ringed b.h.g on Tuesday ,so it may be the same bird - when we hear back we can pass on the info if your interested? ( we think it's from a Belgium scheme )