A diary of my birding activity covering highlights and photos from my birding adventures. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I might mention the odd thing that isn't avian, but for moth and other insect news check out my mothing diary.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Balearic Shears and Yellow-browed

A northwesterly on 22nd October prompted me to start off at Pendeen.  It wasn't the strongest so I wasn't surprised to find things fairly slow.  That said it was just about worthwhile with single Manx and Sooty Shearwaters and at least 16 Balearic Shearwaters.   Also an Arctic Skua and probably triple-figures of Kittiwake.

Next stop Kenidjack Valley, in the rain.  For those of you who didn't see it, this was where the Yellow-throated Vireo was back in the good old days (1990).  One of the smartest birds I've ever seen.

Kenidjack Valley, 22nd October

One of the Yellow-browed Warblers showed well but briefly, despite the wind and rain.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Kenidjack Valley, 22nd October

Then perhaps the same, or maybe one of the other birds (there had been 3 there) showed, and showed very well.  This bird called for a while and I wish I'd got a sound recording of it.  Sounded most odd - a little reminiscent of Hume's but not Hume's.  Not the brightest individual either, quite greyish, so it got me wondering.  On balance I felt it lacked too many Hume's features and was presumably just a Yellow-browed Warbler (as presumably everyone else who'd seen it over the preceeding days had also concluded).

Yellow-browed Warbler, Kenidjack Valley, 22nd October

I now decided to head off to Hayle where once again I couldn't find the Ring-billed Gull.  26 Mediterranean Gulls though, and the same Spoonbill and Ruff.  Also a Pintail.  St Gothian Sands always strikes me as a good bet for finding a yank duck so I headed round to there next.  No yank ducks - a couple of Greylag Goose x Canada Goose hybrids were the nearest thing to excitement here today.

I'd been told about a Pallas's Warbler at Zennor seen the previous day by a visiting birder.  He seemed competent and had apparently informed the local grapevine although news didn't seem to have emerged on any of their websites or the information services.  I decided to have a look and enjoyed exploring an area where I'd not birded before.  The copse between the village and the coast road looks fab for skulking Ovenbirds or an eastern Zoothera, but nothing like that today.  He'd seen the Pallas's a fair bit further up the valley (inland) but as I walked up to look for it I was passed by 3 road-repair trucks coming down, and when I reached the point the track had fresh repairs.  There would have been a good deal of noise and disturbance here prior to my arrival so maybe that contributed to the absence of any Pallas's Warbler.

Next day (23rd) I started off doing Porthgwarra again.  Things were very quiet, though the 2 Firecrests were still at Trevean Pool and 1 Firecrest was still at the Doctors Garden.  At least I had assumed all 3 were the same birds as I'd seen before, and indeed one was being reported from the Doctors Garden all week, but photos seem to suggest today's bird was a dull female whereas the bird I'd seen earlier in the week was a bright male.  Or was the dullness just the effect of dull conditions and a very high ISO setting...?  Surely not?

Firecrest, Porthgwarra, 23rd October

Other 2 Chough, 2 Snipe and 20 Siskins were the only other birds of note.

Chough, Porthgwarra, 23rd October

In the afternoon went for a walk with Vitty from Nanquidno to Cot, crossing the fields at Little Henda (where despite walking through the fields I could not locate any of the Woodlarks that had been there).  We did see 2 Choughs at Little Henda and 5 Choughs along the cliffs between the end of Cot Valley and Nanquidno.

Choughs, between Cot Valley and Nanquidno, 23rd October

Stonechats, between Cot Valley and Nanquidno, 23rd October

Next day's forecast looked like the start of the day would be a wash-out but it might be worth seawatching off Pendeen once the rain stopped.  Took the opportunity to do some dudey tourist stuff with the wife like Newlyn galleries and Lamorna Cove (where there was a Firecrest) before heading up to Pendeen.  To be fair the forecast wasn't exactly ideal for a good seawatch but the reality was still less ideal.  The sea was pretty much dead, 1 Balearic Shearwater being the only seabird that made it into my notes.

Another visit to Hayle produced the Spoonbill and 42 Mediterranean Gulls, but again no Ring-billed.

Chiffchaff, Trevilley, 24th October

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