Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Hayle Estuary + Scilly! - 5.10.13

The Black-Winged Stilt + Bluethroat
After finishing work I went home and tried to sleep but couldn't so I packed my things and at just after midnight set off for Cornwall. Just before dawn I arrived down on the Hayle Estuary and after finding a spot to park I joined a few other birders for a scan over the water for the main target bird an adult female Black-Winged Stilt. No sign on the estuary so we had a look over Ryan's Field. Again no sign of the stilt but I did find a Wheatear and my first Greenshank of the year. Back over to the estuary and suddenly a shout went up and there flying was the stilt. It landed and showed well but annoyingly I'd left my new phone/scope adapter in the boot so could only manage a rubbish handheld shot. A Little Egret made it onto the list as well.

I then had to head off to Lands End airport for my flight over to Scilly. Once on the islands I walked to my digs for the week as I was only staying round the corner at Tolman Guest House. I dumped my bags switched on the CB radio and grabbed my optics and headed out into the field! First stop was Lower Moors where straight away a Water Rail squealed and a couple of Chiffchaffs were in fine voice enjoying the warm weather. I continued up to the screen at shooters pool where the first year tick of my stay was had when a Yellow-Browed Warbler called and showed briefly. After trying to get better views I gave up and headed out onto the Telegraph Road when the radio burst into life to say that an Arctic Warbler had been found up at Newford Duckpond. A quick check of the map was had only to find it was gonna be a bit of a walk. But just then a few other birders said that the bus would be along in a minute or two! Whilst waiting I met a couple who used to live and bird around SW Herts and they mentioned they used to visit Cassiobury Park! (small world). Eventually the bus arrived and my first ever bus twitch was underway. The driver very kindly dropped us off at the pond even though it was off his route (imagine that on the mainland!). After 20 minutes or so the bird finally showed albeit briefly before another 15 minute wait when it was pinned down inside a bush. I then gave excellent views to the small crowd and became only my second in the UK. A female Blackcap also showed briefly. After filling myself on good views I headed off for a wander and had a Peregrine fly over Juliet's Garden before I reached Porthloo beach where a Wheatear was on the beach with 2 White Wagtail and a  Little Egret. On the sea edge 2 1st Winter Med Gulls were spotted. By now the lack of sleep was taking hold so I headed towards the dump clump to pay a visit to the famous Project (Higgo's) Pool. Again the area produced the goods when the long staying Bluethroat flew up from my feet. A Sedge Warbler showed briefly and then the final bird of the day was seen by the dump whilst on the way for dinner when the juvenile Purple Heron another long staying bird flew into the reeds to roost. I had dinner in the Bishop and while sat there 3 blokes walked in. It was Steve Blake, Ricky Flesher and Brendan Fagan of Tyttenhanger GP's fame!!

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