Thursday, 26 January 2017

Devon + Cornwall - 7.10.16

My Caspain Tern (not my photo)

Dalmatian Pelican

Its that time of year again where it was time to head SW. I joined Steve Blake in his car and headed for our first stop of the day to Fremington Quay in Devon. Here we met up with the other car load of Ricky Flesher, Brendon Fagan and Terry Smith. When we arrived it was still dark but as soon as we were able to see we started scanning over the water hoping to see our intended target. After an hour or so there was still no sign but we had seen 18 Little Egret, Greenshank, Barwit and a couple of Common Tern. It was just before we were about to descend of the café to warm up that I picked up a bird as it hit the water. It was a tern but the speed at which it hit the water made me say to the others I've got a Caspian Tern! I got the others on it and watched it as it hit the water a few more times but it was unfortunately heading away from us and after a few minutes it vanished into the River Caen. This bird was most likely the bird that had been on Scilly a day or two previously?  I phoned the news out and we went for breakfast. I finished eating first so I left them to eat up and went outside. There was no sign of the tern but there was sign of our first and the UK's first ever DALMATIAN PELICAN! I called them to get outside and they soon joined me watching this huge bird start preening. The views weren't exactly great due to distance and murk but worth the effort. This bird had been found in Cornwall c.150 days earlier in the year and had flown around the county visiting various sites before heading into Devon. It had been seen in Poland and France before it reached our shores and so its now a waiting game to see if its accepted as a wild bird or not. I then found an adult Mediterranean Gull which was embarrassingly my first of the year and my 200th species for 2016! Happy with our lot we climbed back in the cars and headed into Cornwall.

Baird's Sandpiper

Our next stop was Davidstow airfield where after getting slightly lost we found ourselves looking over the small pool at 3 Dunlin, Ruff and only my second ever Baird's Sandpiper. It gave great views before flying out of view. By now news had reached us that the Caspian Tern had been re-found on the River Caen and stopped any lingering doubts about whether I'd made a cock up of the ID! Turns out it was only the 4th for Devon!

Hudsonian Whimbrel

We then headed for the village of Perranuthnoe just East of Penzance where after getting slightly lost again we walked along the coast path noting Peregrine, Stonechat and a Common Sandpiper before I finally re-found the long staying Hudsonian Whimbrel. This bird had originally been found on Scilly in October 2015 before moving and has now spent over a year on site. It was also a lifer for Brendon and a second for everyone else after the Pagham bird.

Little Stint

From here we decided to pop into Marazion. Here I walked down to the beach in the hunt for a Little Stint but saw no sign of it. This was until I re-joined the others who had stayed near the car park and picked up the stint just below them! They hadn't mentioned it because they thought it was a Sanderling 😉!!

Spoonbill (left)

Our final stop of the day was a quick look over the Hayle Estuary. Here we added Spoonbill to the trip list. Time for dinner and bed.

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