Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Dipping and Diving, Penzance Style.

Went off on a twitching foray to the current birding hotspot that is Penzance. Suddenly, over the last week or so, a plethora of good birds have been reported; in addition to the returning Pacific Diver being finally pinned down for the season, a pair of Waxwing had been showing well just off the A30 just on the north side of town, with Grey phalarope(s), Pale-bellied Brent Goose and a 2nd winter Glaucous Gull off Tolcarne beach, with a Red-necked Grebe off Jubilee Pool, in addition to the regular Purple Sandpipers, Divers and Bitterns at Marazion RSPB etc etc.

So we eventually made it out the door, only 26 hours late (we'd been hoping to get off at 8am the previous day, we were almost ready at 7:30, then and I went and fell asleep for the rest of the day instead. Such is the peril of missing out on a night's sleep the night before. Doh.)

Flask loaded, satnav (Suzi) primed, and expectations high, and we were off. First stop Marazion, the actual village, for a recce for when Suzi's folks might come down. But we also did a scan seawards - planning to keep heading west until we hit the Pacific Diver. The sea was relatively bird free, but on the beaches below the town were 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Grey Plover, and a sprinkling of other commoner birds. Added Feral Pigeon to the year list. Next stop, the beach opposite Marazion RSPB. Erm, nothing, almost (3 Sanderling doing their thing), and so swiftly moving on as it started it started to rain ... to the Waxwings ... which we found, after some minor detouring. Smart bird - we only saw one - although I had  what I thought was a second lower down in one of the trees flying out, but couldn't be sure. ***

Jubilee Pool was next, and again the sea seemed relatively bird free. The beach just to the west, however, held the goods - 30+ Purple Sandpipers, maybe 8 Ringed Plover and a handful of Dunlin. We walked along the front, as far as Tolcarne beach, but unfortunately we failed to see any of the species of note, aside a single adult Med Gull, 2 Razorbills, a Common Scoter and 2 Eider out in the bay.

On to Newlyn, and a couple of distant Great Northern Divers; an adult and a first year bird. 5 Common Scoter in flight. A Firecrest just south of Newlyn by some feeders off the coast path - might even have that as self-found, considering I can't see any reports of one ... and a Knot a little further along.

Mousehole merely held large numbers of gulls - just GBB and Herring as far as I could make out.

And then back ... eventually winding up at Marazion, dodging squally showers as we went. A brief look for Bitterns and stuff with no joy, another Great Northern off St Michaels's Mount, 2 Stonechat on the beach, and that was about it. 13 year ticks, and some nice birds along the way, but the Waxwing aside, none of the target birds were to be had.

(Although on getting back, both the Grey Phalarope and the Pacific Diver were reported today. Oh well... I guess that just means a return trip soon will be in order...)

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