Monday, April 29, 2013


Just got back from a wonderful weekend in Cornwall. Though it was 'mainly' a family break away, I did manage to get the old binos out on a couple of occasions. 

We left Woking at about 13:30 pm on Friday and arrived at Tintagel Hostel at 18:15 pm. The setting for this hostel is unbelievably beautiful and we were all very happy to be there. After a little time enjoying the views and settling in we headed into town for a bite to eat, stopping at St Materiana's Church.

The following morning we spent some time along the cliffs outside our hostel. There were a few pairs of Herring Gull nesting that I could see plus some Fulmar flying circuits around the cliffs. There was also Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Rock Pipit present.

Rock Pipit

By 10:30 am we were heading for Tintagel Castle, where we spent the next three hours walking the ruins. 

After leaving Tintagel we headed south to St Just where we booked into our next hostel: Lands End Hostel. Prior to this we checked Cot Valley, which backed onto our hostel and was also the site of a reported Woodchat Shrike.

No luck with the shrike, so we booted down to Lands End for the obligatory photo, a quick pint in the last pub in England then back to St Just for a wonderful meal at the Kings Arms.

Sunday morning we headed down to Portgwarra, where we spent a few hours walking along the cliffs. 

The birding along here was really cool. There were Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Stonechat, Whitethroat and Sparrowhawk along the footpaths, which kept me busy until I got to a good look out spot: Gwennap Head. The sea-watch was very productive with both Red and Black-throated Diver, Gannet, Guillemot, Shag, Fulmar and over 100 Manx Shearwater! Along the cliffs were Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, a fly over Raven and my first Chough in over 20 years. Birding Portgwarra.

Time had finally run out and we headed home via Dartmoor National Park.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Put a few hours into Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve this morning. My hope was to finally connect with the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker that 'apparently' drums in the morning on the heath. Last time I got down at 07:10 am and missed it, though it was seen and heard from 06:30 am to 07:00 am. Today I got on site at 06:25 am and waited until 08:00 am. Nothing. Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker only. Five attempts for this bird over the last few months. Going to walk away now and happen upon my own. 

The drumming snag (empty)
The reserve was beautiful this morning with the mist lifting to leave perfect blue skies. Birds of note:

1. Chiffchaff
2. Willow Warbler
3. Blackcap
4. Whitethroat
5. Sedge Warbler
6. Swallow
7. Nightingale (8) singing
8. Cuckoo (1)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Song in the Air

Though Spring has been here for a couple of weeks now, it really felt like it today. The wonderful sound of bird song and the warmth of the sun made me grateful that winter is over. My walk today, on my local patch, was all about soaking in the wonderful chorus of bird song. Migrants included Chiffchaff, Blackcap Whitethroat and Hobby! Other birds of note included Mandarin Duck and Red Kite but many more common species where present also.

I had lots of fun (and some frustration) photographing some of the usual suspects. Though I love my little point and shoot camera, I am wanting to upgrade soon...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

April Migrants

On Sunday I had another attempt at the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve but missed it by 30 minutes this time; so I am getting closer. The reserve produced a few migrants including Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Swallow, Sand Martin and Nightingale, that I noted.

I checked along the canal at Papercourt Meadows on Monday night, no Reed or Sedge Warbler yet but 3 singing Chiffchaff were present, plus a great look at a hunting Barn Owl over the marsh and a Grey Wagtail along the canal. At Papercourt Lake this evening there were 5 singing Chiffchaff and two pairs of Blackcap. 

Wheatear (female)
After having a massive rain / hailstones storm today (18th April 2013) I couldn't wait to get out and see if anything had been forced to land on my patch. Luck was on my side and I got my first Wheatear for my patch. There were two birds actually, a male and female. Other species of note included a singing Skylark, Barn Owl and a pair of Stonechat. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cirl Bunting

Twitched, or rather, dipped on the Lesser Yellowlegs in Devon on Sunday. It was a fourteen hour day but not without reward. While looking for the yellowlegs we flushed a Jack Snipe and after throwing the towel on the yellowlegs headed to Broadsands, south of Paignton. Here we got great looks at my lifer CIRL BUNTING. So, can't grumble:)

For fun, we decided to record a video journal of our day: 

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Had a few hours down at Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve today. Missed (again) the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which was drumming from about 07:20 am to 08:00 am opposite the heathland. The reserve was fairly quiet but the discovery of an Adder made it a memorable trip. 


Green Woodpecker

Monday, April 1, 2013


Brent Geese

I will be the first to admit that I have had a good run over the last few months; spending my free time chasing rarities or target birds. So, it only seems fair that I miss a few. Yesterday I did a big day in Norfolk missing both my target birds; Golden Pheasant at Wolferton Triangle and Black-bellied Dipper in Thetford. The pheasant is very hit and miss and numbers have declined. The dipper, well, that serves me right. It's being showing for about 4 months but has now, it seems, decided to leave.

However, I did have a cracking days birding, totaling 88 species. Other than staking out my two targets, my time was spent at Titchwell Marsh RSPB Reserve. Bird of the day was seeing Woodcock (3) in the undergrowth on the path leading to the reserve. Other birds of interest were 17 species of wader, Brambling, Siskin, Water Rail, Marsh Harrier, Common Scoter, Eider and Fulmar. 



Bar-tailed Godwit

Water Rail