Sunday, 3 February 2013

Guided walk, feeding frenzy and tumbling records

The weekend started with a Guided walk on the patch for the Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society (CBWPS). At a time when the BTO are reporting a Cuckoo (David) having left it's wintering grounds to return to the UK to breed, Stithians was being pounded with a cold North wind. At least it was dry. Meeting at the dam we began a slow walk to the hides where Mark had unfortunately had to cancel his ringing open day - gusting to 45mph. A few bits and pieces were had on the way including 9 Goldeneye. Straight into the Southern Cut Off hide for the feeders where activity was busy - very busy. A record 70+ Chaffinch scrabbled about on the floor and feeders with not one but a another record - 2 Brambling mixed in with them. It was only the second sighting of Brambling for one participant which made the whole walk worthwhile. Over to the other hide for good numbers of Tufties, a few other bits and pieces and the long staying Long-tailed Duck.

After lunch I took a stroll around Hell's Mouth only to be greeted with a feeding frenzy - 4 Bottle-nosed Dolphin, 90 plunge diving Gannet and a scattering of Shag and GBB Gulls was a pleasure to watch as they fed on the shoal of fish beneath the surface only a few hundred metres out. About half an hour later there were no Dolphins and the Gannet sat on the water doing nothing. Show over. Well, not quite as there were hundreds of Razorbill passing Eastwards on passage and the first Guillemot on the ledges - 73. Two half built Shag nests have been blown away and no sign of the Cormorant at all. Almost 80 Fulmar present again.

Today just saw a relaxing hour in each hide, finch numbers up again with 66 Chaffinch and 2 Brambling on the feeders. Couldn't find yesterday's reported Bittern though.

All in all probably the best weekend this year really. I very rarely lead walks, usually only one a year but i think another one in May when the Warblers have arrived is on the cards.    

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