Thursday, 18 October 2007

Hayle day trippin' and bar-tails

Hayle Estuary 18th October 2007

Arrived at 11.30ish by being dropped off at the Quay pub by my lovely lady Tracee. I made my way to the viewpoint over the Saltings (or the main estuary to those in the know). Wigeon, Teal, Canada Geese, Greylag, Lapwings, Little Egrets, Herons, Oyster catcher, Black Headed Gulls, Herrings, Curlews and Redshank all waved at me when I arrived. I stayed for a few minutes before heading over to Ryan's Field...

When I arrived I was accosted by Shelia (of Chichester Interest Holidays & Accommodation) who wished to know if the Spoonbill was about. Well, unfortunately it wasn't.
We had a little natter, mostly about either A. Minerals or B. Twitchers being a boring bunch of...

I parked my rear down in the hide and looked out, but other than a Heron, Curlew, Kingfishers, Dunnocks, Robins, Grey Wagtails, Robins, Pied Wagtails, a solitary med gull who made a brief appearance, a Herring Gull, a Littlest Egret, another Robin and a few pints of water, nothing was going on.

By this time I became hungry, having not eaten anything since 6am, so I devoured a packet of mints and continued the epic journey into the unknown (called Hayle).

I made my way to Carnsew pool and headed around the back. A large group of Redshanks wandered around, so too did some Golden Plovers, but it was rather quiet. Rock Pipits flew this way and that, bleeping at me ever so often and I remember seeing some twitchers on the far bank which made me hope they hadn't pointed their bins at me as I hadn't been breathing in.

I wandered back to Ryan's Field and saw nothing else of any interest, so I decided to run (which was really a rather pathetic walk) back to Carnsew pool. I plodded along and came across three Bar-tailed Godwits and a Magpie. So I headed over to Copperhouse Creek and saw nothing new there. So, I headed to the co-op and bought a drink, newspaper and packet of crisps.
I sat on the benches overlooking the Creek, reading the paper and occasionally lifting up my bins to find it was only a Curlew.

The end.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Spoonbills & old folks.

Hayle: 12 October 2007

After my last brief stint over to the estuary and my failure to spot the spoonbill, I wanted to make sure this new stint was a success; my parents, fresh from another bout of Natures Calendar, were coming over.

We arrived (Mumsy, Daddykins & Tracee baby) at around 1.30pm and parked up at Ryans field. A Curlew dropped in followed by 3 kingfishers (making their presence known in the usually squeaky fashion). A pair of Grey Wagtails pondered their existence whilst a Robin gave my mummy the run-around as she searched for the Kingfishers.

We spent a moment or two in the hide before playing chicken with the traffic to set up camp overlooking the main estuary.

Gulls (the tiresome variety), plenty of Teals and a large gathering of Widgeon stood or sat (depending on water temperature) around the waters edge. Little Egrets stabbed at the sand, a Curlew was busy picking the legs off a crab and Grey Herons sat on the far bank waiting for the train to pull in.

In the distance, a large white bird could be seen shovelling his beak through the water as if panning for gold after taking a large dose of ProPlus. Yes, it was the Spoonbill, who was hanging around with the Canada Geese and a few Graylags.

We watched the beast for 10 minutes or so before deciding to head of to Carnsew Pool and so we could head back onto the main estuary from there (giving us a closer viewpoint). My father stayed in the pay & display across the road from Jewsons, so we (Mother dear, Tracee and my good self) wandered over to the Pool. The first bird we hit was the Red Breasted Merganser, who cut a lonely figure in the water. Curlews, Red Shanks and probably other waders skipped away over yonder, but we had to rush to get the last viewing of the Spoon before heading back home.

By this time, the Spoon had parked up and shoved his head where the sun don’t shine, but luckily he did come out for some fresh air (or when disturbed by the aerobatics of the Geese). The extra walk paid off then.

I’m back in Hayle on Thursday for a ‘nearly’ full days birding, if anybody is around on that day, I’m the one who looked like he’s just escaped from the loonybin.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

A roundup of rather naff trips out of the sanitarium...

St Agnes.
My last trip to St. Agnes (for the foreseeable future at least) brought in nothing... so St. Agnes is well and truly done and dusted. I managed to spot the usual suspects; plenty of Stonechats, Wheatears and got some wonderful views of the Kestrel, but as I hoped for something special to round of my Agnes sessions, all I could see were my hopes drifting off down the side of the cliff and entering a rabbit from the rear end.

Someone decided that a Spoonbill had been seen there, who this mystery person is is a mystery; and so it seems is the whereabouts of this cutlery defined monster. The reports came in on Saturday (I think) and on Sunday. I was in Hayle babysitting at the time and had my bins ready to pop over, but ended up cooking breakfast for two hungover ladies of the night. So bugger me when I got home and found out the Spoon was in...
I went over today, chatted to a few twitchy folk, but nothing. Cornwall Birding (see links) don't have it listed as a sighting for today, but Birding in West Cornwall do...
My parents (having watched Natures Calender probably) have decided to come over and do a spot of birding at the estuary on Friday, so hopefully it may be back (or showing if not already popped off to spoon elsewhere).

The Saltings were full of the usual Geese, Curlews, Teals & the odd Wigeon (garganey anyone... never checked?), Egrets and water. Copperhouse was just as remarkably uneventful... and where were the Pintail? Do people hide these birds before I get there and simultaneously release a load of Herrings and Jackdaws in a vain attempt to keep me occupied?

One day I will report on something interesting, I promise.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Another day at Agnes

Initially, the plan was to spend this 4 hour jaunt roaming around the footpaths which cut through the 'gorsey, grassy, woody, greeny' section which runs almost parallel with the coastal path. It was here, one fateful afternoon, that I found my first Stock Dove. Buggered if I was going to see that again...

I sat, waited, and other than Robins and Wrens filling the air with their tweeping, it seemed a lost cause straying from the coastal path. So, after bagging a few Chaffchiffs, finding two rather large swarms of wasps (which I walked straight into), eying up a troupe of Long Tailed Tits and watching a Fox scratch its neck, I dragged my carcass back to the cliffs.

No wind = no kestrel, but luckily I caught him perching on a rock before he took off in search of some windy action. Actually, it was very still and in tern this meant very little action from the seabird populous of Agnes. Only some Herring Gulls, an Oystercatcher and Shags could be seen. A Grey Seal was swimming around, probably enjoying the calm sea. Other than that, rather a disappointment in sea birding terms, not that I would have seen anything of any interest anyway, but still, it was rubbish, so sod off.

I decided, due to my legs seizing up and going into spasm, to park my big old booty on a plank of wood fashioned into a seat and play the waiting game. The first sighting came from a Robin and, just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, a Wren appeared. Then, thankfully, two Stonechats popped up. This didn't please the Robin, who made a swift beeline for the Chat and chased him off his perch onto another. The recovering Stonechat then had to deal with a Wren deciding to take a pop at him, but the chat didn't budge, so the Wren flew off to a bush and got slightly annoyed with himself for being so small (I assume).

On the way back a Wheatear appeared in the field next door and another appeared in the heathery spot to my left. A Buzzard flew over, a few Collared Doves pottered around and the usual crow family (Jacks, Rooks and dead rockstars seeking revenge) just, sorta, flew about, not really doing much.

Next time: Last St Agnes for a week where I find a blackbird and some soil...

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Newdowns Head, St. Agnes

Well, it was with great anticipation that I begin this 'reinvented, rejuvenated and mildly pointless' blog with a rather smashing trip report from St Agnes.

The day kicked off on with a whistle stop tour of Morrisons car park, where we popped into the 'cafe ala crud' for a instant black coffee and to steal some sugar. A Black Headed Gull was parked on top of a lamppost and some other dreary things pottered around. Not the greatest of birding spots, but their donuts are excellent. Anyway, on to Agnes.

This trip included St Agnes Head and Newdowns Head and the walk began with a Kestrel showing well; 'will hover for food'. More walking was done, but nothing much appeared. Plenty of Robins, Wrens and a gaggle of crows. The only Gannet in the ocean was seen flying off and Black Backed Gulls (mostly 1st's and the odd 2nd's) flew this way and a that way.

A solitary Stonechat appeared, flitting from one perch to another before buggering off and a pair of Grey Seals floated around in a calm of the watery section before heading out of view.

I was also licked and pounced to death by a young, white boxer (dog!) called Patch. If you are the dogs owner, is he available for early evening sessions?