Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in Cornwall - Sunday 27th

The day after Boxing Day, Sunday December 27th, we planned to explore a few birding locations in the southern part of Cornwall, starting off with a visit to the Lizard. We've been here together twice before. The first time we sat in the car listening to the fog horns, with visibility less than ten metres, the second time involved short dashes between hostelries in driving rain, which of course was at the height of a British summer.

This time we were in luck. It was very windy and very cold but neither foggy nor raining:



We walked around the point, to a small valley known as a good spot for migrants in Spring. We weren't expecting much at the start of Winter of course. There was a small group of Song Thrushes, including this one:



Other birds included Stonechats, Kestrel, Lesser-black Backed and Herring Gulls, and this Meadow Pipit, foraging in a field near the cliff-edge:



We walked around the point and back into the village before driving to the National Trust car park by the lighthouse. A Jackdaw looked like it was picking the lichen off a roof-top:



A group of Herring Gulls were sheltering from the heavy winds in the car park:



Herring Gulls have a bit of a reputation in Cornwall, I for one however find them to be very interesting and attractive birds.

From the car park we decided to walk down to the most southerly point in Britain, not for that but because the Chough are known to frequent the area:



We weren't disappointed, a pair of Choughs were feeding on the cliff:



From the Lizard we headed next to Hayle Estuary, timed to arrive as the tide was coming in, about an hour before high tide. It's fair to say that next time we'll probably aim for a lower tide as, with the rising water, a lot of birds had been pushed to the far side of the estuary so it made it harder to spot birds, rather than easier. We did enjoy watching this flock of Dunlin move from the estuary proper into the small RSPB reserve:



As this birding was proving distant we decided to head further into Hayle, crossing the iron bridge across the estuary to walk up up to the furthest point of the rising tide. The walkway is a very good spot for birding being sub-tropical in climate (surprisingly). There are loads of common/garden species, including tits, finches, etc., as well as the odd migrant including some Redwing. Out on the estuary we watched Curlew mixing in with the gulls:



Numerous Redshank:



One bird that caught our attention was this Rock Pipit, which we've not seen outside of coastal cliff habitats before:



Beautiful little bird:



On our way back to the car we spotted a small group of Ruddy Turnstones:



And a Carrion Crow, not a regular feature in this blog, but I like the light, the shadow, the colours, etc:



We checked out Drift reservoir to find it was permit only and didn't know where Chapel Carn Brae was, so no chance of spotting the Richard's Pipit either... so time to head back, clean-up and pitch-up for dinner. We've added Cornwall as a Spring birding destination to the ever longer list of places we'd like to visit for Spring migration...

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2 Comments:

Blogger babbler said...

I loved viewing your excellent photos! I wish I could be there in person to see your magnificent coastline. I am on the central coast of Oregon, it has alot of interesting birds here as well.

Feel free to come visit us at slug's rest, we don't have any photos, but I can offer you a cup of drawn tea!
Love, Mrs. Slug

1:54 am  
Blogger Michael said...

Mrs Slug, thank you. We may well take you up on that offer... we do visit different parts of the US from time to time...

12:58 pm  

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