Wheatear, Porthgwarra, 25th October
Stonechat, Porthgwarra, 25th October
Back at Trevilley with the car packed and ready to go I met a local(ish) birder outside the cottage. We chatted about the potential that Trevilley had to turn up migrants, mentioning some past highlights, including the Red-eyed Vireo I saw here in 1995 and the Yellow-browed Warbler which had been there up until the day we arrived a week earlier. This week I had turned up nothing better than a Blackcap and a couple of Chiffchaffs in the hamlet but that was trumped at the very last minute: while we were chatting he picked up on a calling Firecrest.
Not sure how many visits I made to Hayle during our week in Cornwall, at least in part to see the Ring-billed Gull. It wasn't that it was a bird I was desperate to see - I've seen plenty before, and most of those in the UK were of the same age-class (second-winter) - but it's a good place to look for other birds and as it was there it seemed daft not to try and see it. But try as I did I couldn't find it, so on the way home we stopped here for one last attempt.
A Kingfisher showed well, if a bit too far for photos, at Ryan's Field. On arriving at the causeway I checked carefully through the close gulls, as someone had said it sometimes gets close to the causeway, and went on to check the flock a bit further off, and the ones in the distance. Nada. Then I took some time to photograph the Teal just in front of me before finally checking the main flock once more.
Teal, Hayle Estuary, 25th October
No sign of the gull among the main flock, so one last check of the birds close in front of me - and there it was, Ring-billed Gull, the nearest bird and right under my nose. What's more I later found it was in the foreground of my Teal photos so it had been there for at least 5 minutes before I actually noticed it!
Ring-billed Gull, Hayle Estuary, 25th October
Carrion Crow, Hayle Estuary, 25th October
A visiting Australian birder arrived and I showed him the gull. Funny how someone who was clearly a highly experienced and competent birder had only just ticked abundantly common birds like Rook, but of course no different from when I rocked up in Florida the year before last and saw the likes of Grey Catbird and White Ibis for the very first time. He'd already sorted out the Mediterranean Gulls and also mentioned having seen 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, a species I'd not seen this week. Sure enough, a careful scan across to the very far corner of the basin revealed the four birds just as he said.
Last stop in Cornwall before heading home was Davidstow Airfield. Nothing had been reported from there recently but I thought it worth a look - have seen some good birds here in the past and it didn't require a very significant diversion. I needn't have bothered - it was pretty much devoid of any avian life.