Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Weds 14th January. The race is on ...

A bright day beckoned and the day was spent out birding ... probably too much birding, but with local birder Samuel Perfect back at Falmouth Uni after the hols, a new year to bird in, and sunshine(!), it was all too much to resist. A circuit around the local area (starting from Falmouth, and all within 7 miles of the reservoir) netted 88 species by days end - some good birds and a few surprises (most surprising probably being a Sandwich Tern at Devoran, and a couple of Scaup, at College Res and Swanpool). Just a shame the rain came out and the birds went in for the latter half of the afternoon.

We hit Stithians only slightly later than planned, at around 2pm, and managed to visit both main hides and fill the feeders before the rain really got going.

Four Magpies flying up from the feeders upon our approach were the only feeder tick, but as usual the place was fairly brimming with birds. Selected maxima -

Chaffinch 14
Great Tit 7
Blue Tit 5
Dunnock 7 (!) Can't think I've ever seen more in one place before ...
Goldfinch 3
Greenfinch 2
Reed Bunting 1

Actually, may as well post everything up. So, everything else maxima -

Robin 3
House Sparrow 2
Water Rail 1
Blackbird 4
Magpie 4
Woodpigeon 1

With a Chiffchaff nearby, a Great Spotted Woodpecker (GSW) flying into the copse, although immediately landing out of sight and so eluding Samuel totally, and out on the marsh, 9 roosting Snipe and 14+ Teal.

Chaffinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Water Rail, and yet more Chaffinch ...

A small contingent of gulls from the Stuart Hutchings hide included 2 Lesser Back-backs, with the Slavonian Grebe showing well, along with 5 Little Grebe in a tight bunch nearby. Very little in the way of wildfowl to see in a perfunctory scan.

We next headed to the northern end in the hope of catching up with more ducky goodness unimpeded by the small wavelets causing slight issues at the southern end; as it turned out the wind and surface were even rougher here; but we persisted anyway.

25 Mallard and 1 Little Egret were in the northern cutoff, with more Little Grebe offshore (15+ total for the reservoir as a whole, probaby many missed due to the conditions.) Moving on to the sailing club road to try and find a Goldeneye or Pochard for the day list, we instead managed to add 15 Lapwing as they and 40+ Curlew took to the skies distantly from the fields alongside the western side of the reservoir. Scanning for raptors which might have caused the upheaval was without success, although shortly after a Kestrel overflying the water may well have not been a coincidence. The culprit. Possibly. A Peregrine would have been nicer.

A surprise (because we'd thought them long gone) were 2 Ringed Plover on the shoreline - nice, although views were all too brief as they flew around the corner - time was of the essence and we didn't follow them. 3 Common Gulls battled the winds overhead, and that was about it.

Except it wasn't quite over yet - on our return to the southern end on our way out we stopped at the end of the causeway to find ducks had vastly multiplied in our absence - in addition to a hundred or more Canada Goose out on the waters, the southern end now held 35 Mallard, 60+ Wigeon, 20+ Tufted Duck, and finally, and most satisfactorily, 2 female Goldeneye diving alongside the shore.

 In terms of our impromptu 'bird race' we had Stithians to thank for a handy 7 or so new species - Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Snipe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lapwing, Kestrel and Goldeneye, not all of which would have been easy to find otherwise. Unfortunately those were to be the last new species of the day.

Maybe should try and see what a full circuit of the reservoir on its own can produce in a day, one day perhaps ...

A nice picture of some brambles. I had been hoping it would be a nice picture of a Chiffchaff.

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