Showing posts from August, 2018

Cornwall - The Lizard

Saturday was a glorious day. The six-and-a-half-hour journey to Lizard Point was well worth the hard slog, the M5 is particularly soul destroying but it is from Exeter where the journey really starts.

Overlooking the cliff face onto the sparkling sea, the hoards now sporadically spread across the clifftop path from the Point to Kynance Cove.

Sunday was the day when the weather turned up. By association, it was the day when the birds turned up. The howling mild South-west breeze churned up the sea, buffeting against the cliff face, and where hardened day-trippers still in summer plumage battled the elements unperturbed by the frequent heavy showers.

Seabirds were piling past. Visibility was sporadic, determined by the pulsating showers. Hundreds of Manx Shearwater scythed effortlessly through the storm, twisting between the surf with utter contempt.

The passage of birds was relentless. The key was to keep an eye out for something unusual, to keep optics as dry as possible, and to resis…

Dungeness - American Black Tern

A quick trip down to Dungeness to get a glimpse of the American Black Tern that favoured the western end of Burrowes Pit as viewed from the Makepeace Hide.  It remained distant while at least 25 Black Tern were scattered more widely, frequently seen passing by the hide.

This scarce nearctic tern appeared slightly more compact than it's european cousins, displaying noticably dark rustic tones without the clean breaks seen on the 'nigra' a shorter tail and 'dirtier' flanks.  Most of the Black Tern observed showed pristine white underwing and underparts.

There were five Great Egret present, and a quick scan of waders revealed good numbers of Ringed Plover and Dunlin, and a single Knot.

Staines Reservoir

A quick visit to Staines Reservoir to make the most of a balmy evening where the temperature rose to a crazy 28C.

It was generally quiet but the return was pretty respectable with a Black-necked Grebe seen on the west side of the south basin.  Waders were sparse, but was made up by singles of Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, and two Common Sandpiper on the north basin.

A juvenile Yellow Wagtail was in amongst around sixty Pied/White Wagtail along the causeway.

Farlington Marshes

The south-coast is now in reach, a generous hour and fifteen away and proves to be a great escape when on a Saturday the hangover of a working week feels heavy on the mind.

The initial part of the walk round the reserve is dominated by the sound of thunderous traffic belting along the A27.  Heading towards the estuary, the traffic fades out to a distant hum, replaced instead by the echoes of piping waders as they began to fly in on a rapidly rising tide.
Only common waders but a joy to see large groups of Common Redshank, their red legs illuminated by the warm sun that had finally penetrated the grey skies.  There were decent numbers of Dunlin on the lake, many still in summer plumage.  Black-tailed Godwit began to fly in, around seven Greenshank were mobile, with two Whimbrel and a Turnstone seen off-shore.  A minimum count of 117 Grey Plover were occupying the exposed islands with small groups wheeling around the bay, many again still in summer attire.  Oystercatcher had occupied t…

Staines Reservoir

A mild breeze swept through the reservoirs under leaden grey skies.  There was barely a soul around as I made my way along the causeway.

The highlight was a way overdue London first, a roosting moulting adult Sanderling on the North basin accompanied by an adult and juvenile Little Ringed Plover.

There were six flighty Common Sandpiper scampering along the shoreline of the South basin.

Hirundines were sparse, but for a single Swallow, three House Martin, and four Swift powering low past and always a pleasure to watch.

Common Tern have successfully bred here with around a dozen including young either flying or settled down on the rafts.

A single eclipse drake Shoveler was present as was a juvenile Shelduck and an Egyptian Goose.