Thursday, 30 October 2014

Another week another Shag!

After a gap of seven days (yes a week) the Shag reappeared, I don’t know where it has been hiding in the meantime but it was a welcome repeat. It had been rather a quiet walk around with just a couple of Redwing to speak of. The on the small pool another reappearance with the two Red-crested Pochard seen for the first time in three days.

The Shag was ridiculously close sat just off the disabled parking bays, unfortunately it was late, but at least one person managed to get there before dark, fortunately he had a camera – take a bow Steve Haynes.

Shag – Steve Haynes

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wednesday 29th October

I have been around the Reservoir a lot recently and this morning there was still a Common Sandpiper present the Red-crested Pochard weren’t to be seen but they were there on Monday, I think they are commuting! Also today were a couple of Raven. This week has seen a scattering of Meadow Pipits but I have had no more than half a dozen at any one time.

Monday saw a Peregrine spending the late afternoon making sure the gulls didn’t get to settled. Also there was a Chiffchaff with the Long-tailed Tit flock.

Where did I find the time?

I cannot believe how little time I have since I was set free. On Thursday night I found out there was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in Cornwall. I dismissed going for it, but Joy insisted that we go and spend a couple of days in Cornwall (something we try to do most years). After the life changing events of last Friday I though you know what, lets go for it.

We got up early and with no real urgency we made out way down the M5. We hadn’t got much past Exeter when we heard the bird had made it through the night – someone must have helped it. (Gladis Knight!). We arrived at Porthwarra at about 11am and it was murky with a combination of low cloud, fog and a steady drizzle. We followed the directions and three birders one of whom looked familiar appeared out of the gloom. Mr Archer looking like an extra from The Hobbit with full beard but minus axe. He put us on the correct bearing as with the visibility being that poor a compass was called for.

We eventually came across the crowd or gathering, the bird wasn’t showing and you could tell who had seen the bird and who hadn’t – the one’s that had were all talking – rather loudly! I managed to bite my lip for a while but eventually I turned round and asked if the bird was deaf, as I rather hoped that it was as I wouldn’t quite mind seeing it! Sarcasm just went over their heads and they carried on talking away!!!

Eventually after an hour a birder around a 100 yards away started waving and we made our way round to where he was standing and enjoyed great views of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo at one point it landed on a dry stone wall and just sat there for a minute of so. Joy really enjoyed it and gave me a peck on the cheek! Bob Duckhouse one of my flatmates from Shetland was there as well, unfortunately the rain returned so we made our way back to the car park.

We had a walk in Nanquidno valley then we went to Pendeen but the winds were wrong so with daylight at a premium we went to Drift where we walked to the hide and had good views of the female Ring Necked Duck.

We had booked a hotel room for the night at the Penzance Hotel. B&B normally costs £65 for two so at £85 I thought it would be a bit more comfortably. It was great, the staff couldn’t do enough for us there was an excellent restaurant and the breakfast was excellent. I will be staying there again.

The next day, we birded around the Hayle Estuary seeing a couple of Firecrest and a Lesser Yellowlegs plus a variety of other birds. Then we slowly made our way back stopping at a site in Devon where we saw Dartford Warbler.

We arrived home early evening having enjoyed a great weekend.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Porthgwarra, Cornwall

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Thursday 23 October

Spent the morning at Ladywalk, didn’t really see much but it was a pleasant morning. This afternoon Joy and I took a walk around the Reservoir, it didn’t look promising with one sailing boat and a speed boat out on the water. We were about a quarter way round when a Cormorant caught my eye, I pulled up the bins to see a Shag the domed head and long slender bill were obvious, but the small size was what attracted me to it. Almost immediately it took flight it looked like it landed near the car park so we carried on. About half way down the Shag flew past us and disappeared over the trees flying east parallel to the railway line until lost to view. We checked out the small pool but it wasn’t there, but the two Red-crested Pochard were present on the raft in the corner.

I was hopeful of a seabird this week but Shag wouldn’t have been in my personal top ten. I am not sure but I think it might well be a new species for the Reservoir, I will look into it. It is certainly a new species for me.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tuesday 21st October

At a bit of a loose end today! I spent a pleasant morning around the reservoir. The wind was gusting a bit and at first I had the place to myself. On arrival six Skylark flew overhead but that was the only significant sighting apart from the two Common Sandpiper that seemingly don’t want to leave.

On the small pool were 120 Tufted Duck and the two Red-crested Pochard, I also ran into a tit flock seeing Treecreeper, Coal Tit and Goldcrest.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday 20 October

Last Friday saw me turn 58 plus probably more significantly unemployed/retired no sure which as yet. So it is safe to say I could be doing a bit more birding from now on. It also explains why I was such a stroppy mare on the Shetland trip – sorry lads – stress does funny things, including putting me off the beer!!!

There have been a couple of Common Sandpiper on and off now for a fortnight and the two Red-crested Pochard were still present this morning. A Swallow was seen yesterday.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Saturday 11th October

Up early and round the reservoir early. The two Red-crested Pochard were still present and there were two Common Sandpipers. A single Chiffchaff was seen but little else.