On the first hedge we checked there was a typically elusive ( and always stunning) Firecrest and a couple of Chiff-chaffs... it felt like there could well be something better in with them. Our next stop near to some private gardens offered yet more passerine gems in the shape of a Yellow-browed Warbler ,yet another Firecrest and strangest of all a Water Rail in the tamarisk! This is only the second I have seen at Trevose in 12 years! There was certainly birds around but as always Trevose Head is very hard work and you have to be grateful with what you find and accept you probably miss just as much in the process! The main issue at the moment is the very dense Tamarisk which is still in full bloom , so unless a bird is calling you are struggling....Still we carried on picking up odds and ends as we walked around and I was particularly happy to find 12 Corn Buntings in one of the set aside fields, I hadn't seen any Corn Bunts on my last two visits so it is always a relief to know that a few are hanging on , I hope very much that the National Trust can develop a strategy for helping these character birds in the future as I worry it won't be many years until they are gone ( 10 years ago there would be 40 + birds ).More excitement came in the form of 2 Great Northern Divers which Pete picked up flying across the neck of the headland and I spotted a high flying Short-eared Owl which in typical Trevose fashion seemed to be moving through quickly. Our final counts included 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Little Egret, 1 Water Rail, 3 Curlew, 1 2nd winter Med Gull, 1 Short-eared Owl, 6 Goldcrest, 3 Firecrest,17 Chiff-chaff, 2 Yellow-browed Warbler, 26 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 7 Songthrush, 2 Grey Wagtail, 12 Pied Wagtail, 3 Reed Bunting, 12 Corn Bunting, 1 Bullfinch ( scarce here , only 1-2 records a year) and 1 Siskin so with time ticking on and the rain arriving we got back to the car before we got too soaked and headed up the North Coast to Maer Lake and Davidstow.
|Heavily cropped photo of the Short-eared Owl, note the distinctive kinked wing shape.|
Also in the field they have a very relaxed, buoyant flight style which reminds me of a Harrier.
We managed to get a fair bit of birding done at Maer Lake and enjoyed seeing a variety of waders including a Ruff, 4 Dunlin , 27 Snipe and 7 Black-tailed Godwits, Apart from good numbers of Teal and a few Wigeon , a single Shoveler was the only different duck. The weather at Davidstow was mental ! We chanced upon a colour ringed Lesser-black backed Gull and 14 Lapwing and although it was quiet it still looks likely to produce another good wader as long as it doesn't get too cold in the next few days...
Our next plan was to check the Camel Estuary but we misjudged the tide and it was already in quite a way... still there was plenty of common waders and still 2 Curlew Sandpipers and 2 Pintail amongst the Wigeon. Sometimes birding doesn't always have to be about rarities and showing a keen young birder on holiday all the different waders on the estuary and seeing his eyes light up as he saw his first Grey Plovers and Curlew Sandpipers was a nice way to finish a days birding. ( hopefully he will keep on birding! ).