Saturday, 23 January 2021

Great Grey Shrike in North Cornwall 23rd January 2021.


 

Absolutely delighted to find this stunning Great Grey Shrike this morning close to home.

The first of these I've photographed in this country.

It was perched at the top of an elm tree surveying the fields and then moved lower down into some bushes before I got some quite close shots of it sat up on some bare twigs on the top of a hedge.

I also watched it hunting from a barbed wire fence, dropping down into the grass on either side and then returning to the fence. Never saw it catch anything though!

Got so excited I gave myself a migraine! Ha!

 


 

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Stonechats on the Cornish coast. January 2021


It's always good to watch Stonechats on the coast but especially so when there's great light.

I got lucky and the late afternoon winter sun was just perfect for lighting these little birds as they took up their vantage points on the brambles and gorse.

One of the bird species that has decided to stay on in Cornwall to face the winter weather. Often a casualty of hard weather hopefully they can survive. 

 




Sunday, 27 December 2020

Sociable Plover at Bude marshes. 27th Dec 2020.

 


I caught up with the "Bude marshes" Sociable Plover or Sociable Lapwing this morning. 
 
Probably the same bird that was at Crows an Wra near Lands End a few weeks ago. 
 
Seems to know it's a rarity as loves to hang out in very difficult to photograph places!
 
However a super bird and well done to Mark Worden for finding it hiding in the north of the county.
 
Classed as "Critically endangered", this species breeds on open grassland in Russia and Kazakhstan.
 
These birds migrate south through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, to key wintering sites in Israel, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan and north-west India. 
 
It is a very rare vagrant in western and northern Europe, where it is usually found, as this one, with northern lapwings.
 

 



Friday, 4 December 2020

Red-breasted Flycatcher at Curch Cove 2nd Dec 2020


 

With lockdown eased for us Cornish I had a full days "twitching" to catch up with a couple of the rarities in the far West of the county.
First the Sociable Plover at Crows-an-wra which showed well but distant. 
 
This was followed by a run down to the Lizard where we saw the beautiful male Red-breasted Flycatcher at Church Cove.
 
These birds breed in Northern and Eastern Europe and usually migrate to the South East to winter in India. Accidental visits to the UK often happen when winds catch them out and deposit them miles from their target route.
 
It is in the churchyard of St.Wynwallow at Landewednack on the Lizard, the most Southerly church in England so if it decides to overwinter here it has probably the best chance of anywhere in the country as it's right on the coast and is usually a very mild climate.
Hopefully it'll be able to find enough flies and small insects to survive.
 



 
 
 

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Yellow-browed Warbler in wetland on the Amble marshes today 29th Nov 2020


Really lucky to see this stunning little bird flitting around the willows on thhe Amble marshes today.

It was on the edge of our Walmsley reservecatching insects in the trees in the winter sunshine.

A seasoned traveller is this species with the main breeding areas from the Ural mountains east into Siberia , Mongolia & China. 

More are breeding west of the Urals now so it's thought that these are the birds heading west into Europe to overwinter or pass through.

A tiny little thing sized between a Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff,  its amazing how it adapts to this long distance mirgration.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Firecrest at Egloshayle, Wadebridge. 23rd November 2020

 


I popped down the road from our house to see if I could spot a Yellow-browed Warbler that was reported to be skulking around the hedgerows but failed to spot it.

So I wandered back through the cemetery which in the old section is very unkempt and an ideal place for birds.

There are lots of ancient Yew trees and several other mature species along with plenty of ivy, holly & brambles. All species that are often attractive to wildlife, birds in particular.

This place hosted up to 9 Hawfinches two winters ago and I'm always hopeful of spotting one again in the trees.

Well, I got lucky and whilst searching the Yew's I spotted a cracking little Firecrest flitting around searching for insects.

Firecrests are a passage migrant and winter visitor to Cornwall although rumours abound that they may now be a breeding bird in the County but to date no positive record exists.

Here are a few more pics of this, the smallest British bird, a characteristic it shares with  it's close relative the Goldcrest.







Saturday, 14 November 2020

Peregrine Falcon on a Lapwing "kill". Camel estuary 12th Nov 2020

 


All the birds on the marsh in front of me took to the air as a Peregrine falcon swooped down through them.

Lapwing, Redshank, Godwits & Dunlin all hit the "panic" button.

After a while they all settled back down again and I started checking them out once again until a sideways glance showed a bird on the ground in the marsh to my left.

On raising my binos I saw it was the Peregrine and it was mantling a dead lapwing.

It was at the limit for my lens to be able to reproduce the images at an acceptable quality because the light levels were very low.... it was after 4pm in mid-November!

ISO was at best 2500 and at worst past 12,000 so I wasn't expecting exhibition quality images!

I also tried some video clips as my camera can cope with them better in low light.

Here are a few pics and a video clip as the bird tore apart the Lapwing.






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5CpJ4k53hE