Saturday, 7 March 2015

Cornwall & a Little Bunting more 18-21st February 2015

Hi, gulls were the agenda for my final 4 days in Cornwall. After already seeing a Ring-Billed Gull from point blank range, I was on the look out for one of my own. This didn't pay off, but still saw many fantastic birds that gets your heart racing...

The 18th was a nice late start for me and gave me a well earned rest from a bird-fueled 17th, my Mum and I decided to have a walk down the local, and notoriously good birdwatching spot Cot Valley. Chaffinches dominated the scene and forced me to search through them for the elusive Brambling. Half an hour passed with no luck inside the hoards, so I gave up! Now at the top of the valley near some stonking cottages we found a wintering Chiffchaff that us birders should agree on being a nice sight (unless it's there for a couple of seconds!)...
A few bits and pieces followed, so I was just about to fall asleep ;) until! I heard what I can only describe as "WOW". Yep Choughs do apparently sound like that. Years of that call resonating around has caused it to be a blasé. Although, watching them dive and strutt their stuff does cause some excitement. An ultra recognisable bird for me. 

After getting back home that evening. A little check near the outflow pipe in Cot Valley seemed appealing. So packed my binos, camera and off I went. NOW sit back, relax and just imagine me out here in stormy weather and very high winds, you must feel rather priveleged that these pictures have come from a boy with just a coat and no gloves, ok? Good, yes I was freezing but was well worth the effort for great views of (for me) a top 3 bird :) Mediterranean Gull or as I'll abbreviate, Med Gull.
Over 20 must have been riding the waves with their beautiful blood red bills, and best of all white wings. Here are some 8 photos of these beauties...

Look at those white wings
One having a little taster along with a 1w on the left
Both ad. and 1w again, with ad. bottom right and juvenile flying middle right
Oh those white wings :)
Just before "touch down"
Perfect spread of wings, shame it wasn't a full frame shot...
I can see a couple of Med Gulls, how many do you see?

It's flying in there somewhere...

Directly in the middle

After that great find of Med gulls I decided to get some rest, and look through all the gull photos, which for most isn't that fun! The next morning I decided to check down there again later that evening and found this along the way, and no, I didn't go back in time, I put sepia effect on :)
Can you see the adult?

After that we decided to see the waves at Sennen. As always my trusty camera came along. Curlews and Oystercatchers on the rocks near us was a nice surprise, nothing much else was around though, so decided to photograph the Herring Gull in front of us...

Clearly a nice adult, with a good grey plumage. Now onto the next day... We were going to go to Hayle but decided on the way to stop off at Marazion. Unfortunately (as I may have already said) I didn't bring my scope which was handy :( This prevented me from trying to find the site loyal Pacific Diver. This didn't however, stop me from getting down onto the beach.
1st Winter Med Gull

Can you find the Adult Winter Med Gull? remember, white wingtips
Yes, sorry to bore you but these Med Gulls gave a love story effect, throughout the holiday I just grew to love them, always admiring their beauty. 5 were on the beach but with no Glaucous, or Icelandic which in some respects is slightly disappointing! We eventually got to Hayle, after my Granddad seemingly let everyone past! Here's a collection of what was there waiting for us...
6 Med Gulls in that shot!

A more agressive looking Herring Gull!

4 greenshank we saw in total

Some flamboyant Great Black-Backed Gulls

So pretty much sums up a good performance from the birds today. One other thing to note was the presence of 5-6 Bar-Tailed Godwits. I noticed these normally travelled in pairs, could suggest they're bonding before going back to their Arctic breeding grounds? One more check of the gull flocks down Cot Valley produced this...
The One-Legged Wonder! 
White Wings

Summer plumaged white wings!

My favourite photo of Choughs that I have taken

Rebel Chough
The Choughs were very obliging and were having a good old chat while I was there minding my own business. The gulls dominated the viewing though! This was the end of the holiday, but not for birds, we decided to go to Gulval for a minor twitch! 
Showing diagnostic crown... Peek


Head on view
We spent 15 mins wathcing it before carrying on back home to see this and I think even my Mum & Dad agreed that it was well worth it!

inbetween transmission from non-breeding to breeding

This Poo, caused a pooblem, what would you say, please excuse absolutely awful joke!!!

Following on from that I noticed a large flock of Larus Gulls around the corner so quickly went to investigate... This was about a sixteenth of the flock.

There are two here, try and find them :)

As soon as I got to the top of the cliff all you could hear were Gulls, absolutely loads of them, including the best ones in the UK again!

You can tell this one is a second winter due to amount of black on tail, while the first one is an adult due to it having pure white wings.

The star attraction, maybe of the whole holiday came in the form of an LBJ (Little Brown Job) or so I thought... This was not just any old  Bunting it was a Little, just look how cute that face is...

Sorry for soooo many photos but even this amount may not have given this epic Cornish holiday justice. Be sure to check out the accomadition we rent out... the famous Kenidjack and Cot valley are right on your doorstep...

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