Adventures in an empty corner

Birding musings and ramblings around South-east Cornwall - the empty corner of the county.

Monday, 17 October 2011

A truth universally acknowleged...(with apologies to Jane Austen)

There seems to be a generally held belief that I always find a good bird on or around my birthday. Over the years I've managed to find the odd Yellow-browed, Pallas' and the like. I turned up a Penduline tit once - and a Monarch, but of course the Rame Bluetail in 1999 was the real biggy, not least because back then Bluetails still had a certain cache and this was a county first! I must admit that I've spent quite a few hours up at Rame over the past couple of days in an attempt to replicate that day, and whilst the results were not as exciting as in 1999, they weren't disappointing.

I started off at St John's Ford to see if I could see the Sabine's Gull reported there yesterday afternoon. I didn't - but the place looked great in the early morning light.

Skylarks are plentiful and the Linnets are still around, but the majority of the hirundines have moved on. One or two Siskins and small groups of Redwing have been giving their presence away as they call overhead. The highlight yesterday was undoubtedly the Short-eared Owl which came over the Military Road and was immediately set upon by the local gulls and corvids. There was a second bird apparently but unfortunately I missed it. I did however manage to get a distant record shot:

Up at the Head the Yellowhammers and House Sparrows were in their usual place around the coastguard cottages. It seems incredible that I have to mention this as both species used to be numerous but have declined dramatically over the last few years. Sparrows seem to be making a comeback and numbers are building nicely, but Yellowhammers are a serious cause for concern, not least because East Cornwall is really the centre of the Cornish population.

Cirls were in evidence today with at least two males and two females in amongst the Yellowhammers

These are natural colonisers from the Devon population rather than part of the reintroduction scheme which has been going on further down in mid Cornwall.

The first Black Redstart of the year - a drab female was found around Rame Barton briefly before it was chased off by a Pied Wagtail. Hopefully now that the first bird has turned up a few more should follow.

Bird of the day was undoubtedly the Yellow-browed Warbler I found around Penmillard Farm. I say I found it but unfortunately I didn't actually see it - it just called three times from one of the gardens before presumably moving on with the Long-tailed and Blue Tits. My birthday luck continues!!

Tip of the day - literally! Don't go for a pee in a nettle patch...

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