Monday, 8 January 2018

Dippers at Respryn

Somewhat inspired by a recent BBC nature program on Dippers I spent a couple of hours today watching these stunning birds go about their lives. It seems that Dippers start to Sing and display quite early in the season. The 2 birds I saw today where very preoccupied in various displays and sang throughout the morning as they chased each other up and down the river. I was surpised at how large their territory was as I followed them along the river ,I would estimate at least 1/2 mile.

I had also visited Respryn to check the Hornbeam tree's for Hawfinch but today I was out of luck. However several Marsh Tits, Treecreepers and Nuthatches kept me entertained but sadly the gloomy light wasn't much good for photography. I spent the rest of the day on Siblyback and Colliford Lakes, catching up with the female Scaup that me and Rachel found in November, the long staying Lesser Scaup and some interesting Gulls including Yellow-Legged and Caspian Gull.

East Cornwall

On Sunday myself and Pete took our annual trip up to the Lynher and Tamar Estuaries , it's usually a great days birding and our 2018 certainly lived up to expectations!

Our first place to visit was Kingsmill Lake which is a tributary of the Tamar and at China Fleet Golf Club there is a well positioned hide which often has good birds. As we walked across the golf course we saw several Mistle Thrushes and a Chiffchaff trying to find food on this very cold morning. Thankfully Pete didn't fall over ( he has fallen over at least 3 times on this path! Each time getting laughed at rather than sympathy from me!) . It was bitterly cold in the Hide but a good number of Avocets ( 2 of which where colour ringed) and other waders including Common Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank kept our spirits up.....

This Greenshank was very close to the hide

There had been a Glossy Ibis in the area for several weeks but could we see it? Could we hell! For some reason Glossy's are always a pain in the ass for me to see but eventually I picked it up roosting with some Little Egrets on the far side of the Estuary. Another good bird for the year was a smart Siberian Chiffchaff feeding with 2 more Common Chiffchaff's amongst the salt marsh.

After China Fleet we went on a whim to the local Churchyard at Saltash ( after I had googled places that had lots of Yew Tree's in the area.). Our quarry was Hawfinch as there had been a significant influx into the country over the past few months. It proved to be a good call as when I walked into the churchyard a single Hawfinch flew over my head and landed in the Yew tree next to the car where Pete had decided to sit and wait, so a great yeartick and find for him!

As the tide was now dropping we headed over to St Johns Lake but not before my stupid Sat Nav sent us on the wrong road and we had to cross the bridge into the unholy land! Poor Peter was nearly in tears as we drove into deepest darkest Devon before doing a sharp U turn ! Whilst I kept my eyes closed not wanting to see any birds that didn't count ha ha .


Metal ringed Mute Swan 

Over at St Johns lake we quickly spotted the local specialities of Pale-bellied Brent Geese, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Sandwich Terns and Red-breasted Merganser. Next on the list was Millbrook lake to look for an old friend, Edna the Egyptian Goose! Despite some negative news from a local birder we saw Edna and another Egyptian Goose within seconds, also of interest was a metal ringed Mute Swan , hoping to find out where it has come from soon!

It was nice to see plenty of Shelduck, a wonderful looking creature which sadly seem to be reducing in numbers, especially further west on the Hayle and Camel Estuary's

Heading home we checked various spots on the Lynher Estuary seeing yet more Avocets, 2 Whimbrel , Spotted Redshank and plenty of Wigeon and Teal. With the light fading we drove back through the county seeing no less than 5 Woodcocks zooming over the car. A great way to end a fab days birding.