Family visits in Cornwall entailed a flight down to Bristol and a weeks worth of hire car. To ease the sense of despair concerning my dwindling bank account it seemed only fair and reasonable that to optimise my return I should undertake a bit of twitching and general birding whilst being in the vicinity of some good birds!
16/05 Within an hour of touchdown I had driven to Woodford lodge at Chew valley lake, purchased my 'birding permit' driven on to Blagdon and got my scope on the wonderful squacco heron! (admittedly a fellow birder put me onto the bird and probably saved me a stressful hour or two combing the wet meadow!). Although the bird was only partially on view and rather distant, it was a great bird to see and a worthy addition to my UK life list!
Two hours later I stopped off on the Charlton road bridge at west moor in Somerset, walked across a field and practically tripped over the white stork that had been reported in the area for a couple of days- my birding break (sorry- family visit!) was off to a flyer! I opted for the scope instead of the camera for this bird, which with hindsight, was the wrong choice. I even put 3 other birders onto the bird as you could walk right past it, if you didn't look through the right gap in the hedge- nice to help fellow birders after my assist on the squacco! :)
A few hours later and I was in Helston playing the part of the dutiful son, whilst at the same time secretly wishing that some more twitchable goodies would merit an sms message alert!
17/05 Mid morning I found myself back at one of my favourite birding locations- Marazion marsh. It was a cold day for May and birds were scarce but I picked up the likes of Cettis, reed and sedge warbler as well as little egret. An otter eating an eel on the surface of long rock pool was a pleasant bonus. Moving on to the Hayle estuary and then Gwithian produced only a grey plover and a couple of peregrines.
18/05 Took a walk along the coast path at Predannack on the Lizard in the hope of finding my own good birds but everywhere was quiet. Had reasonable views of peregrine again, also singing whitethroat, but worryingly no sign of any dartford warblers.
A quick return to Marazion turned up some splendid whimbrel on the beach which were briefly joined by a grey plover.
|sanderling, grey plover, dunlin|
The next couple of days were desperately quiet at Hayle, Marazion, Helston Looe pool and there was nothing to twitch. The only birds of note were green woodpecker, more little egrets and a couple of very smart stonechats.
|little egret- Ryans field, Hayle|
I narrowly missed a roseate tern in Mounts bay, spent over two hours looking for another at Dawlish warren on the way home and then dipped out on one of my worst ever twitches when I went for the great reed warbler in Somerset- in fact it was so traumatic I can't bare to write about it!
All in all a great week looking at some great birds and pushing the year list up to 145. (and of course happy families well and truly played) :).