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.




Sunday, 27 October 2019

Portuguese Man O' War North Cornish coast 27th Oct 2019.



I was delighted to get close to this Portuguese Man O' War this morning on our Cornwall Seal Group & Research Trust survey just West of St.Ives in West Cornwall.

We actually came across 3 different ones and despite struggling to focus on them from a very rocky deck of Atlantic Diver  I managed a few images.





Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Crossbills in North Cornwall. 2nd October 2019

Male Crossbill

I finally found the Crossbills in the forest at Davidstow this afternoon at the 3rd attempt.

Well worth the wait although having spent all my time gazing at the spruce cones looking for the birds I was shocked to see them behind me in the shade and with not a cone in sight!

Also pleased to see a juvenile with them so they will have bred this year and hopefully locally.

Female Crossbill

Male Crossbill

Female Crossbill

Female Crossbill with a juvenile.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

White-rumped Sandpiper, Davidstow, Cornwall. 22nd September 2019.






White-rumped Sandpiper, Davidstow airfield this afternoon. Another long distance migrant from this amazing place.

This tiny wader migrates from the Arctic of North America down to the very south of South America annually.





Sunday, 15 September 2019

Migrant Hawker dragonfly at Walmsley sanctuary 14th September 2019.




August & September always produce a good show of Migrant Hawkers in the reserve.
They breed here in good numbers and as the days shorten and the mornings & evenings start to chill down these dragonflies always seem to be at their best.



Friday, 6 September 2019

Brown Booby in Cornwall Sept 2019




Well it had to be done!

I'd got fed up with everyone asking me "I suppose you've been down to see the Brown Booby!"

Me answering "No" and then thinking perhaps I'll pop down at the end of the week if it's still there.

So went down with a couple of friends this morning to Kynance Cove on the Lizard, the most Southerly point in England and filled my boots with the sight of a magnificent bird taking regular feeding forays in the bay beneath the high cliffs above the cove.

This is one of the most beautiful places in the UK and to be graced by such a stunning bird was even better.

The light was poor with a forecast of rain by 11 am so it put on a good show in the time we were there. The light made auto focus difficult as there wasn't the contrast particularly when it was "brown side up" but better when the white on the breast and belly showed toward the camera.

All in all well worth the trip which was relatively short compared to that of most of the other birders that thronged the clifftops.

If it stays around I may even pop down again... who knows!

It's not everyday a first for the UK turns up even if this is a different one to the north coast bird a few days ago.