Saturday, 17 March 2012

A Stormy Day with a Hint of Spring in Cornwall...

I am back down in Cornwall this weekend and so there will be no bird ringing for me, instead I will have the chance to do some birding at my usual haunts, and maybe see some spring migrants. I had the option to go shopping in Bude, but without hesitation chose to be dropped off at Crowdy Reservoir, and be picked up three hours later. As we were just leaving the house a heavy downpour made me briefly reconsider....but only briefly.

Typical Wind Blown Cornish Tree

As I was dropped off the weather seemed to be clearing, but as my lift disappeared over the hill the weather closed in again and a heavy downpour ensued. It was cold and bleak for a while, but I was at least able to bird from the shelter of a conifer plantation...not that there was much to see. A handful of Herring Gulls, with a couple of Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gulls, were bathing and a flock of 15 Canada Geese were at the waters edge, loudly honkng a me! A couple of Eurasian Teal and a Great Crested Grebe made up the list of species present.

Stormy Cornish Scene at Crowdy Reservoir

As the rain cleared and the sun re-emerged, bird life became more obvious, with a Song Thrush immediately bursting into song, followed quickly by a male Goldcrest. My aim was to get to Davidstow Airport, where I was to be picked up, and as I walked along the road singing Goldcrests and Siskin were the most numerous species. 

Common Raven

Just as I got to Davidstow a Common Raven flew over croaking and four Common Buzzards  circled overhead uttering their typical mewing call, but there wasn't really much else going on. The main aim for me going to Davidstow was to look for spring migrants and in particular Northern Wheatears, and as I scanned the airfield it wasn't long before I picked one up.

Male Northern Wheatear

Unfortunately this bird wasn't very confiding so I was unable to get any decent shots, and even resorted to digiscoping; these two images being the best I can offer.

Male Northern Wheater

I was still able to age and sex the bird though, and you can see in the picture above the grey mantle of a male, and the pale fringing on the primaries (just about visible on the blurred image above) ages this bird as a first year. So, my efforts were rewarded with my first Northern Wheatear of the year but not much else to speak of, off down Valency Valley in search of Dippers tomorrow.

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