Monday 18th January light to fresh E Cloudy, showers Noon, cool wind
A massive breakfast to last the day and I am off knowing that there are birds available for the Year list in the vicinity. The possibility of over twenty five in the next few days is a sure fire motivation.
As usual I have been primed as to the locations of the better birds by Phil Andrews and for that I am very grateful.
Hayle Estuary RSPB reserve, an adult kittiwake and a spoonbill ensure a good start.
Just after the roundabout where Marazion is straight over and Penzance is to the west, I spot a fox crouching in a grassy field and stop to photograph it.
Over to Marazion when on searching for a way to the shore via a back street, I look up to view a very close gull. I shout out “glaucous!” I immediately phone Phil excitedly. I missed out on this bird last year.
A message comes as I am searching the shoreline for the possibly present Hudsonian whimbrel; Pacific diver east of Marazion....now.
I am east of Marazion and I search frantically for the sender of the message. After a few dead end lanes and alleys I find the very man, James Packer, a friend of Chris Craig and he shows me a photograph of what he thinks is the Pacific. I am not sure as the forehead doesn't look right to me though I must admit the neck and bill do point towards Pacific. Anyway we find the diver again bit it is very distant and no way could we tell what it is.
On rocks below where we are is a single turnstone with a couple of grey plover and some redshanks. Meanwhile a diver that does come close is a great northern.
Nothing much out at sea, a raft of forty or so shags and a few passing gulls, James and I walk around the coastal path towards Perranuthnoe. We meet a group of four birders who report little. Two of them walk with us, Phil Taylor and Hilary Mitchell; affectionately know as P & H. I dawdle a bit, searching all rocks along the shore and P & H disappear around a hedgerow.
There's the whimbrel, not far away sitting on top of a rocky outcrop facing away from me. James is only a bit in front of me and I quietly whistle to him and point out the bird. He immediately gets his telescope on it and photographs away like mad. I run to catch P & H, shouting until I gain their attention and so all four of us get to see a whimbrel species which looks good for Hudsonian. It takes off and the all dark rump confirms that this is our bird. Brilliant, Hudsonian whimbrel, a mega rare bird on the year list and the third I have seen in Britain.
James and I start to walk back towards Marazion as rain falls and we stop to look over the sea towards the ever beautiful St Michael's Mount. I almost tread on a small vole as I sit on a rock.
James finds a red-throated diver.
James goes off to see more birds, offering me a carbon lift to join him, refused.
I return to the Hayle estuary and spend an hour looking for the reported yellow-browed warbler. No luck with that but watching a kingfisher hunting from a high electric wire is interesting.
To Carnsew Basin to find a red-necked grebe and a juvenile great northern diver.
Back at the Bed & Breakfast I start to update my Bubo 2016 year list and find I have omitted to put red-breasted merganser seen on the Exe River. That means my spreadsheet list must be wrong and I find that I have omitted great-crested grebe from the first day!
The Green Year list now stands at 126, fifteen ahead of where I was at this time last year.
20.31 miles 963 feet elevation up 952 feet elevation down