Adventures in an empty corner

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

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Stumbling in the dark... (with apologies to The Jayhawks)

It's been a while since I've been able to get out - work and all that, so it was a joy to set off yesterday to see if I could track down the Glossy Ibis that has been wandering about the estuary for the past week. I could always take the easy option and wait at Devil's Point in Plymouth for the bird to fly past on it's way to roost on Drake's Island but that would mean watching the bird from Devon, and the primary point of seeing this bird was to see it in Cornwall, or more specifically in Caradon to get that all important local tick.

I wasn't the first to get to St John's Ford - Tony had beaten me to it  and he was busy scanning every inch of the salt marsh and exposed mud looking for the bird. Those who know Tony will know I'm talking rubbish - he was doing what he normally does, sat in his car doing the Telegraph crossword and hoping a casual glance now and again would pay dividend.

Tony in full-on birding mode

There were actually quite a few birds there - Canada Geese mainly but also good numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Redshank and Curlew. There were a few Dunlin, Med gull and Little Egret, and singles of Green Sandpipier, Bar-tailed Godwit and Lapwing, but the Ibis was conspicuous by its absence.

Leon and Dave Allen turned up but the Ibis stayed away. I went for a walk along the foreshore whilst everyone else stayed at the ford. I think this was because I was the only one who had wellies and could negotiate the horrendous mud. When I got back everyone else had gone - perhaps they all had the right idea!!

Ray and Vic soon arrived. Both had seen the bird in Plymouth, and as Plymouth birders were able to gloat over their local tick !!

Still the bird stayed away and we were able to enjoy a bit of banter as birders do, casting aspersions on the sightings of others and discussing the endless lack of decent birds in the area, not realising the irony of such conversations with a Glossy Ibis in the area!

Ray - handsome devil

Vic- a legend

By 12.30 the tide was out and birds had dispersed along the mud so we all decided to check other sites in the area in the hope that the Ibis was feeding elsewhere. We had no luck and actually saw very little of note. There were only a couple of Med Gulls and small numbers of Black-tailed Godwit at Millbrook and no sign of any Greenshank or Whimbrel there. Similarly there were no Avocets or Spoonbill at Wacker though 300+ Wigeon there was rather nice.

Although I hadn't seen the Ibis I had enjoyed the day and arrived home mid afternoon satisfied that I'd done my best to find it- it was just one of those things.

I turned on the computer and checked Birdguides just to see what else was around:

Cornwall - Glossy Ibis - St John's Lake: 12:59. Still near the ford on the north-west side......bugger!!

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