Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Not quite back at it!

'Jammed' onto this Rosy Stag!! (Photo:J.Rowe)
Well, best laid plans and all that..................My intention to get back into regular birding fell at the first fence and I haven't been out quite as much as I would like! However, I have 'jammed' onto a few decent birds. A quick look (it turned into an hour!) at Ryan's Field on the 7th October (I didn't even have my bins!) allowed quick view of the Lesser Yellowlegs just before it was flushed onto the estuary! There was also a couple of Little Stints, Ruff, BT Godwit and a Kingfisher, which was nice.
Oh and cracking views of the Osprey from the Old Quay House Car park (excellent pub and new birder friendly hosts!!)

Gwithian was the next 'family' trip out on the 11th October but not a bird in sight there apart from a few showy wheatears and a couple of late Sandwich Terns in the bay. Oh and a Swallow. No sign of the BW Stilt on the estuary the same day but a couple of Brent Geese were nice amongst the growing Wigeon flock.

Finally for now, I had to make enquiries for a job at work which meant me driving west along the A30 yesterday. As I approached the new Sainsbury's supermarket at Penzance I looked up at the four Starlings sat on the street light. Second one in from the right was the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling that had been in the area for a while. Nice one!! Photo above is by John Rowe :-)


The Crossley ID Guide – Britain and Ireland

I opened this new Crossley Guide with some intrepidation as I am not usually a fan of photographic bird guides. This new edition to the Crossley ID library has however, changed my opinion. It is quite simply an amazing concept. The book is almost interactive, with the bird filled images on each page draw you into the scene as if you were there, looking at a lagoon full of Ruff in varying plumages or you’d just come across a flock of Waxwing!  You can be forgiven for thinking, “I’m sure I’ve been there before?” when you see the background scenes, because you probably have! The plates represent the way each species would look in the field and I especially like the Wilson’s Petrel images with the Scillonian III in the background. In fact there are a few Cornish backdrops (I keep finding more as I look harder!). Lesser Black-backed Gulls page has a view of the Hayle Estuary and I’m sure the Manx Shearwater’s are off Mousehole!?
The Crossley Guide has something for everyone.  I would suggest this book is an absolute must for beginners or novice birders. I can think of no better format that I have seen that caters for this audience. The species are set out in an order that immediately aids comparison between similar species and most are shown in flight and in all plumages.
For the more experienced birder, the book is a pleasure. It covers some of the more complex Gull plumages, has some great images of seabirds and wildfowl in flight and has just enough scarcities to keep you entertained. If nothing else you’ll enjoy identifying the background sites!
Even Ringers can use this guide as each species has the five digit BTO code next to the scientific names!!
For under £15, the Crossley ID Guide – Britain and Ireland will, I’m sure, be a welcome stocking filler this Christmas! CLICK ON THE AMAZON LINK ON THE RIGHT TO PURCHASE.

Saturday, 5 October 2013


'ISABELLINE SHRIKE PENDEEN WATCH IN GORSE 300yds SW OF LIGHTHOUSE' was the pager message last night. Too many commitments again in the morning to see that thinks I but I must make the effort seeing as its an adult male of the 'Daurian' variety and only the fourth record for Cornwall. So I dropped the eldest at Brownies and headed off with the other two to Pendeen. As I parked the car I could see Mark Haliday taking photographs of 'something' shortly before a Wryneck flew up from the gorse in front of him. Sure enough, just SW of the lighthouse the Shrike showed superbly, catching, slaughtering and consuming an unfortunate grasshopper in front of the small assembled crowd. Stunning bird! I managed a few record shots before a short walk down the valley which produced three Wrynecks, a Yellow Wagtail, Blackcap and at least four Whinchats. All in all, well worth making the trip and another Cornwall tick to boot!!

There are three previous records of Isabelline Shrike in Cornwall:
  •  Zennor on October 27th-31st 1989
  •  Porthgwarra on 26th June 2002.
  •  Nanquidno on Oct 25th 2011