Thursday, 23 January 2020

Starling murmuration West Cornwall 22nd Jan 2020.



A very dull & damp West Cornwall only lifted by the fantastic murmuration as these Starlings came into roost.







Monday, 20 January 2020

Bearded Tits at RSPB Radipole today, 20th Jan 2020.




Delighted to get my "target species" today at the RSPB reserve Radipole in Weymouth.

A 280 mile round trip but with good company we left at 6 in the morning with the temperature gauge showing -4 C and we were back home by 6:30 pm.

The Beardies were showing really well although the high reeds & light direction made photography anything but easy.

Here are a few examples from the day.....











Sunday, 19 January 2020

"Cornish" Chough at Trevose Head today. 19th Jan 2020.




Just before sunset this afternoon 5 Chough flew onto Trevose Head and landed just feet from where my car was parked.

None of the birds appeared to be ringed and they searched the clifftop & edges for food and then sat and preened in the late afternoon light.

Eventually they flew off and into a huge flock of corvids that were gathering in one of the stubble fields.












Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Great Northern Divers & Eider at Newlyn harbour. 7th Jan 2020.


Great Northern Diver


A visit down to Newlyn today in misty & murky weather yielded good views of 4 Great Northern Divers... aka Common Loon to my North American friends.

They seemed to be feeding well on Cornish crab & shrimps!

I also got to see the long staying winter plumaged Black Guillemot from a distance but failed to get close to it with my camera!

Better behaved was the drake Eider which was looking fantastic.


drake Eider
Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Cattle Egrets at Walmsley sanctuary peak at 83!!! 27th Dec 2019.

Approximately half of the egrets today


I had my highest count yet of Cattle Egrets at Walmsley this afternoon, a magnificent 83 birds!

After about 35 came in near 3:30 pm there were regular groups of about a dozen that kept me having to do another count.
Finally just before 4pm I managed to count 83 before they all flew off at 4:05 pm.

I'm thinking this reserve must be a pre-roost gathering place as this isn't the first time I've seen this behaviour.

We don't have any animals grazing the site at present as it is way too wet so it is only being used as a stopover and a place to wash & drink in the freshwater.

I wonder how many we will have if the weather turns cold.

Here is a short video of them that I put on Youtube.... apologies for the quality as video is not my speciality!

Cattle Egrets at Walmsley

Friday, 13 December 2019

Drake Goldeneye at Walmsley sanctuary this morning. 13th Dec 2019.




A cracking drake Goldeneye sheltering from the gales at Walmsley bird sanctuary, Wadebridge this morning.

It was doing a lot of diving and looked to catch one fish before being harassed by some Gadwall and flying off only to return a few minutes later and continue feeding.

 A long time since I saw on of these in the reserve.








Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Barn Owl bits & bobs. North Cornwall, November 2019



Well I made 2 of these barn owl nesting boxes yesterday and successfully installed both in 2 barns in North Cornwall today (with a bit of help!).

Surprised to open the door of the barn this morning to see an owl flying around and then disappearing into thin air!
I saw it go up to a dark corner where we can't find any holes to the outside but couldn't find it again.
I'd been convinced it had been using a broken window for access but it was at the opposite end of the barn.
I did however capture a short bit of camera trap footage that showed an owl leaving via the broken window. The bird looks quite dark but I think that's because it's filmed from above in semi-dark conditions.
Keep watching because it's a fleeting fly-by near the end of the short snip.









I collected several pellets from this barn a few weeks ago and most of them contained skulls & bones of small mammals, notably field vole & bank vole.

Here are a few photos from that analysis although I've not seperated them to species properly yet.






Lower jawbones from small mammals


Another species that featured on the camera trap footage were bats. Not sure of the type of bats but one can be clearly seen on the left of the wall in the following video snip.
It is at the very beginning of the clip so you may need to drag it back when in full screen if it auto-starts.