Sunday, 23 October 2016

Migration this weekend

I had a few things on this weekend so even though I had plenty of time in the field I decided to stay local and try birding Trevose Head in the mornings and give Walmsley Sanctuary and the Camel Estuary a go on sunday afternoon.


I was at Trevose for sunrise on Saturday morning ( which isn't that early at the moment! Why can't it always be like this ! ) and instead of starting at the bottom of the headland I drove straight to the top car park , found some shelter from the biting easterly wind and began to count the migrants overhead. It was busy! Meadow Pipits and Chaffinch's were trickling through in small flocks and after only a few minutes I heard the characteristic call of a Short-toed Lark ! Surely not! But again it called and several more times until I locked on to this super bird as it seemingly went straight through heading North . This was only my second in Cornwall , my first at Trevose Head and my first Autumn record , boom! Still buzzing from the Lark I settled into counting again and enjoyed the spectacle of seeing 100's of migrants moving through , from Long-tailed Tits to Little Egrets and Golden Plover ,even a casual look at the sea produced a fab adult pale phased Pomarine Skua. Seeing all these different birds out of context is always a buzz for me and it shows just how many birds ( that aren't always known as migrants) travel through Cornwall at this time of year. After a couple of hours migration overhead slowed down and I had a good walk around the headland without seeing an awful lot so I headed home buzzing after a great morning out. Final totals included:

4 Balearic Shearwater
2 Little Egret
3 Golden Pover
1 Common Snipe
1 Pomarine Skua ( adult pale phase)
1 ad Mediterranean Gull
1 Peregrine Falcon
2 Jay
1 Short-toed Lark ( flew north calling overhead at 8:04am )
82 Skylark
6 Long-tailed Tit 
7 Goldcrest
3 Chiff-chaff
7 Blackbird
1 Fieldfare
9 Redwing
2 Song Thrush
1 Mistle Thrush
134 Starling
1 Grey Wagtail
3 Pied Wagtail
57 Meadow Pipit
1 Reed Bunting
381 Chaffinch
6 Siskin
7 Goldfinch

Goldfinches on the move

I didn't get up quite so early this morning ( after a few beers last night! ) but I was still in place at Trevose before 8am...  It was much windier today which made birding quite uncomfortable, the headland was pretty well blown out and to be honest I made a mistake  as I should have started at the bottom of the headland were it was more sheltered, birding would be boring if it was easy and you got it right every time and I learned what not to do in a howling easterly wind!
Counts today included:

8 Goldcrest
1 Chiff chaff
7 Blackbird
6 Fieldfare
21 Redwing
4 Song Thrush
1 Grey Wagtail
15 Meadow Pipit
1 Yellowhammer
1 Corn Bunting
9 Chaffinch
2 Bullfinch
68 Goldfinch

As you can see , what a difference a day makes!

In the afternoon I went to Walmsley Sanctuary and although the water level is quite low at the moment there was still plenty to be seen , a Barnacle Goose amongst the flock of Canada's was easily the bird of the day but I was also happy to see 6 Shoveler, 9 Pintail, 164 Teal, 1 Water Rail, 6 Black-tailed Godwit, 5 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Common Gull and 2 Mistle Thrush.

Barnacle Goose 

The Estuary itself was teeming with winter waders including 400 Golden Plover. 36 Med Gulls ( 2x 1st Winter, 9 x 2nd Winter and 25 Adult ) looked stunning in the autumn light and I also saw a nice flock of 24 Red-legged Partridges, but after an hour or so I had enough of the wind and was happy to head home for tea... 

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