Friday, 30 May 2014

Marazion Marsh Surprise 30th May 2014


I went to Marzion marsh at about 3 o'clock. I met a local birder who has a substantial camera who was also looking for the purple heron. We spent one long half an hour searching through the reeds literally twitching at every grey heron that we saw, now that's odd! So after all that time no sign of it, reed, cetti's and sedge warblers made it a bit more worth while.

When the birder moved on I decided to go to long rock pool, and on the way saw loads of herons and as you're about to hear something interesting. So I stopped to look round the reeds and trees then saw this dark purple blob...

It was very hard to see and didn't seem to be moving so I moved on still thinking about it. After another scan with no luck I decided to go back and see if It was still there, as this was the greatest hope. It was still there but had moved, this proved to me that it was alive! Just then My Mum and Dad had just come back to pick me up,  I had to go :(

Later on I dived straight into my collins bird guide of confirmation it was, what a bird however, if another bird turns up I'll definitely take another look (for a nicer view). Great feeling when found out it was new post tomorrow,

Regards, Alex

The search 30th May 2014

So I went down to Cot valley in pursuit of the possible Iberian Chiffchaff with a recorder in my hand, I was ready for any possibility. But that was only if that possibility came around, it didn't.

I spent half an hour walking back and forth down this stretch of trees where the chiffchaff had been sighted yesterday. The common chiffchaff's were in full voice, teasing me that their little Spanish amigo had disappeared. I had blown it no camera at the time :( I will not count the sighting yesterday as a lifer because I don't have the evidence to support and superior expertise to back me up!

Later on I was seeing loads on common whitethroats, dunnocks and birds of prey, which were rather exciting. the first bird of prey was a kestrel that flew off from a gorse bush and headed to the other side of kenidjack valley, it looked like it had a vole in its talons, so quite a nice find knowing they're feeding well. After more goldfinches, whitethroats and Chaffinches I got to the other side of the valley. To lock upon a buzzard with another bit of food in his talons getting harassed by a pair of crows. Then out of the blue two peregrines attacked it by bombing what a sight if only I had a camera...

So the birds of prey were out in full force which is nice to hear, it's surprising the variety of wildlife in Two small valleys! Sorry for the disappointment of the Chiffchaff, I'll find one soon ;)

Regards, Alex

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Chiffchaff, Cot valley 29th May 2014

Hi, I went down to Cot valley again this morning expecting the same old, same old stuff, I was wrong...

The first thing I found were the pair of coughs I had been monitoring, they seemed well and also had another bird following them, the chick who knows... The trio were joined later by the local boy couple that had been trying to make a nest even though there from the same sex ;) When all 5 of them landed by the cliff I managed to sneak up on them and got to a range of 4 meters, what an experience!

I had now finished the birdwatch walk and was searching around this wood (close to where the tawny owl had been seen), next second I heard this call coming from nearby, at the time I hadn't heard this call and did cause a bit of confusion, and as soon as I found the bird I only had 5 seconds to think before it was off.
Now to the nitty gritty, I have been talking to people from the NGB (Next generation birders) and they have told me that even common chiffchaff calls can differ a lot, in other words have aberrations.
due to me seeing the bird for a few seconds I cannot confirm and didn't have time to notice the brighter yellow supercilium or eyebrow! Also i haven't reported yet partly because I was to nervous to make a mistake also because I haven't had time.

Later that day I went to Marazion marsh to find the purple heron, I was unsuccessful after an hour of searching. On the beach however, there were some nice waders including dunlin, common ringed plover and a solitary bar-tailed godwit.

Please leave a comment on your thoughts of the situation,
Regards, Alex

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Cot and kenidjack valley 26th May 2014

I woke up at 5 in the morning and was raring to go, even though I was a bit tired!
As soon as I got out of the door the bird song was overwhelming, this made it easier to spot birds,so take note, it's better to get up early in the morning. The first few birds were common and bit boring however as soon as I got into the forested area it all changed, the first bird I saw was a female cuckoo as I was sure it had a rufous colour ( read my next post as It turns out that it wasn't and maybe even better). Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and linnets were everywhere fairly well distributed throughout the valley.

Now that I had got out of the wood different birds started to appear such as a common whitethroat, Blackcap and even a male cuckoo. Also the chatter of stonechats that were perched right on top of the brambles. Some fledglings had made there way out as well and were searching for the parents for even more food. I found that the juvenile robin was one of the prettiest with it's striking scaly sought of pattern.

Now I had moved on and was trekking down towards the kenidjack sewerage works. There were quite a few birds, however due to the tree practically growing on top of each other it proved rather difficult to keep track of them. I slowly got to the road then started searching in the wood next to the engine house because in the past special birds have been spotted. Recently a red-breasted flycatcher.
I wasn't expecting to find one but did find a smart looking spotted flycatcher wizzing through the trees. It was a lovely bird even though I was only able to see it for half a minute!

After seeing that I remembered that spotted flycatchers only come in spring and another great bird that comes in Spring is a hobby. So I started looking up at the heavens and noticed a bird if prey zooming across like a Swift or swallow, this meant only one thing it was a hobby, I later found a hat-trick of them, what a great feeling. yet another cuckoo turned up  and sat nicely in full view for me.
After that though nothing else caught my eye so grounded to holt in a way. This wasn't surprising as we all know early morning is the best...

Regards, Alex

The choughs' 29th 28th May 2014

Hi, I went down to Cot valley yeasterday with my Grandad to see what the choughs' are up to. While walking to the breeding ground I found a spotted flycatcher! Now this always happens to me, once I find a new bird I see them nearly every day afterwards so predictable. What made it better though was that it was new for my grandad so did cause a bit of excitement.

Now we got to the breeding grounds we had to knuckle down and keep a bit more quite. The pair turned up once every 45 minutes on average so did take a while and at times was a bit tedious! While waiting I discovered a common whitethroat meadow pipits and a couple of linnets. The amount of birds was limiting due to the fact we were right by the cliff meaning there was less bird habitat.

We spent nearly 3 hours there enjoying the sunshine and the weather, hopefully next time though something more interesting may turn out...

Catch you all later, Alex

Cot Valley 27th May 2014

I woke up again at 5 o'clock again to hear my sister screaming, "Alex, shut up"!
I ignored her but thought "At least I have an interest".

Again I was going down to Cot valley a beautiful valley near Land's End. When I reached a small house at the start of the valley I heard this fantastic call, it was a Song Thrush. In spring there call is very striking. Later I managed to get down the valley after seeing loads of other common but impressive birds. I had now reached the point in which I found the supposed cuckoo, it was there again! This time though I was able to see it sat down, to my amazement it was a tawny owl. Maybe not rare or fantastic but very hard to find in daylight. Also not many are found so was a good spot! The only other ok bird of note was a green woodpecker seen flying at the top end of the valley.

The same as yesterday it seemed to fizzle out with the latter birds being wrens or dunnocks, bboorrrriiinnng....

Anyway, exciting at parts but nice just to see the countryside.

Regard, Alex

Swindon stw 25th May 2014


Today wasa great day as I woke up so excited about what we were going to ring and the numbers.
Matt told me that this is perfect time for a trainee to go ringing as there were the least amount of birds  (50 on average).

Here is the full list of birds we caught with the re-encounters in brackets (which one of the ringers told me is a new term as it sounds less harsh, compared to re-trap):

Chiffchaff 1, Whitethroat 2 (2), Reed Warbler 6 (3), Sedge Warbler 3 (1), Blackcap 1 (1), Robin 5, Wren 1 (1), Dunnock 1 (6 ), Blackbird 2 (4), Song Thrush 0 (2), Great Tit 1 (1), Blue Tit 0 (1), Long Tailed Tit 4 (3), Treecreeper 0 (1), Bullfinch 2, Carrion Crow 1, Starling 1, Great Spotted Woodpecker 0 (1)

I ringed a long-tailed tit, Reed warbler, juvenile Robin, Treecreeper and held the Great spotted woodpecker.

The full details come from this link: 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Swindon STW (First ringing session) 22nd May 2014


What a day I had... I started off by waking up at 6 then later to arrive at 7, that was hard enough!!!
I was met by the ringer at the gates of the Swindon sewerage works (we had private access to a premises behind it). I wasn't expecting it to be much knowing that it's near the middle of Swindon, no offence. However, when I first saw it I was just raring to go, there were about 8 different pools which were approximately 20 m x 10 m, and they were all filled up with reeds. Also due to us being there early (not that early for them but anyway), the chorus was fantastic between the whitethroats and the reeds.

The first thing that I did was sit in a camping chair in this little cabin, around me were small bags that seemed to be wriggling... Next the ringer put his hand in one and pulled out a common whitethroat, it was a fantastic make which was rather relaxed in the ringers grip. This was a re trap so checked it's wings and weight than dropped out a window right next to him. The group (which was a lady and two men then me) finished ringing then went out to check out the mist nets that were set up round the sight, 10 to be precise. Oh and I forgot to say we caught a female grasshopper warbler or Gropper as they say, which are supposedly quite rare as they spend most of their time running on the floor.

While out there we heard a male gropper reeling in the hedges and every time we tried to find it, it changed position. The ringer and I found a few birds in the net, I was surprised how fast he was able to untangle it, he told me that he's one of the fastest around... No surprise then!!!

After practicing the grip and sorting the exchange from the passing and ringers grip. The grip had many nick names for birds so tested me and we're going this is a dududududududududu. I managed to get a few correct, still a bit rusty then.

Anyway, later on we caught the male grasshopper that was the mate to the female we caught, result... Until he told me that I had to ring it! I was so nervous but kept my cool and managed to ring it and what a first bird, I was really chuffed. After finishing ringing we checked nest boxes then finally ringed a juvenile blue tit what a great way to finish it off!!!

Regards, Alex