Saturday, 9 May 2015

Striking Gold!

Blog posts seem to be as rare as gold dust hereabouts at the moment, time to try and put that to rights a little I guess. Work, Spring and Life unfortunately all partially to blame - still coming to grips with all three. Oh, and Netflix too ...

The last post (which was itself a late post) started off with a nice list of birds which hadn't been seen recently at Stithians, and to be perfectly honest, probably wouldn't get seen. Of course this spring then saw an almost unprecedented influx of Hoopoes to south western Cornwall and Southern Ireland, along with a host of other southern goodies in ideal migrant influx conditions; none of which I saw (I probably should have made the effort to at least try and see the Woodchat Shrike over at Camborne, but I didn't).

Would Stithians be completely left out ... ?

 ... Keen followers of local bird news, or persons with excellent rep at guessing blog content from corny blog title headings may guess at what is coming. Local mining history aficionados will however probably remain a touch disappointed .... others will just have to keep reading (or just scrolling down and pretending to read.)

So, with further ado, to the important events of the date in question -

Sunday 26th April

Myself and Samuel Perfect had arranged to meet Daniel Eva to assist with the nestbox monitoring which he is carrying out this season around 11am on this fine sunday (it was meant to be a worse day, meteorologically speaking, than transpired).

Meeting Daniel by the southern hides there wasn't an awful lot of unusual activity to get excited about - there may have been a singing Garden Warbler in addition to the Blackcap which did show itself, yesterday's Sedge Warbler wasn't even heard, but some birds were definitely about ...

At the southern end -

2 Great Crested Grebe
2 Coot
5 Tufted Duck
Little Egret
4+ Cormorant
Sparrowhawk, male
Great Spotted Woodpecker over
3+ Buzzard etc

Around the feeders -

3 Greenfinch
Reed Bunting etc,

And on the southern cutoff -

2 Coot,
2 Little Grebe
Grey Heron, Canada Goose etc

Having checked the hides out properly, we then did some proper work, as it were, and surreptitiously and in an entirely and consummately professional manner monitored some nests and nestboxes, no little birdies were put out too much hopefully in our scientific quest for knowledge.

So to the real highlight of the day (aside Daniel Eva sinking nearly waist deep into a wet muddy hole whilst attempting to give Samuel (who didn't have wellies on) a helpful piggyback across a damp looking bit) was a rather nice and completely unexpected addition to the day - a cracking adult male GOLDEN ORIOLE which flew across the road ahead of us as we trudged along having finished the nestboxes in the southern area. A real bonus, it perched up briefly in the treetops before taking flight again northwards (despite some hopes we didn't encounter it again as we checked nestboxes at that end).

This was a lifer for Samuel, a Cornwall tick for me, and the first for Daniel for some years. And probably a Self-Found tick for all too, in accordance with the official Girls Aloud Self-Finding rules.

2 Stock Dove over at around this juncture probably would otherwise have been a major highlight (Stithians yeartick and all that).

A cracking male Golden Oriole!

It perched briefly in full view, albeit a little distantly, before heading on north ...

Other birds encountered later included a calling Little Grebe and a third pair of Coot on the west side, with c.100 'large' gulls at the north end.

Butterflies included Speckled Wood, Small White and Peacock - more evidence of spring!

And the nest-monitoring itself?

Obviously some caution has to be exercised in this area, but currently (as of 26th April) -  7+ species proven nesting; Dunnock with 3 young, 3 Crow nests with eggs/young, Magpies, Buzzard, Long-tailed Tits, Song Thrush and the two common tit species all started or on eggs.

Stithians being inland, and rather exposed, the tits, especially, are not as advanced as other parts of the country (including various parks and gardens); all change soon presumably, as leaf unfold occurs and insect numbers take off (both the flightless and flighted ones).