The Pool looked quite full yesterday with a few more Canada Geese arrivals swelling up the resident wildfowl and gull stocks. Nothing unusual was spotted so we drove to the top car park . The tide was way out exposing a whole line of rocks ...I had high hopes of some waders picking around the shoreline. A lone Oystercatcher was seen in the distance but flew off towards Spit Beach. Sinking half a foot a stride in the gooey mess with only a lone Rock Pipit and a sprinting Dunlin to reward our endeavours we decided to try Spit Beach. To reach the beach entails a long walk alongside the Imery's Harbour Works past a golf course to the right before reaching the beach which is rather secluded and probably only used by the locals and odd birdwatcher in the know. Scanning the sea and shoreline we saw up to thirty Oystercatchers, Sandwich Terns, Cormorant, Shag and the common Gulls but all really a little too far away for good photographs but we did manage to get some record shots .
Great Tit ......................Parus major A photograph of the gorse which looms up along the walks and provides wonderful photographic opportunities of perching birds (especially Stonechats) against a clear backdrop.
Yesterday evening the rain stopped long enough for us to have a brief look at the Baywatch site. The Beach Pool had filled up again with a large influx of Herring and Black-headed Gulls adding to the resident wildfowl. Parking at the top park we watched the Rock Pipits searching the seaweed left behind at high tide. This part of the beach can get rather messy and a pair of wellies is recommended as it is not unusual to sink below the depth of a pair of boots. With the exception of the Rock Pipits the shoreline was devoid of waders and shorelife with just the usual colony of Gulls scattered along the rocks out at sea. Walking along the *Gorse Walk* a mixed flock of Greenfinches and Goldfinches dropped down a little way in front of us. Further on close to the Beach Pool Great Tits were darting in and out of the gorse.....this was the first time we have seen them in any numbers so I suppose it was a family or two. We also tried the Manoa Valley for the Tree Creepers but were out of luck.
Despite the continuous rain we were joined by Sam, Derek, Ben and Poppy on what was meant to be a whole day birding but ended after we all got soaked two hours later.. The first port of call was Spit Beach which yielded up a Shag for a patch tick. Around the shoreline were Dunlins, Ringed Plover, Rock Pipit and a lone Sanderling. We hacked our way along the *fisherman's track* which unfortunately came to a fully overgrown and impassable end. Derek's scope soon located Oystercatchers, Whimbrel and Sandwich Tern all sheltering in the shadow of the wall and waiting for low tide.
A first summer Mediterranean Gull was in flight around the bay. Another patch tick.
The next location was Porthpean Harbour which yielded up amongst the usual gulls ...Fulmar and Gannets...both patch ticks.
Third and final stop was the Manoa Valley Sewage Works. The first thing to strike me was the large amount of Swallows, Swifts and Housemartins hawking close to the sewer.....the sky was alive with them. By the time we had gone a few hundred yards the rain increased to such an extent we had to backtrack and call it a day...but not before we had added Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and the four Tree Creepers doing their best to scarper around the other side of a large tree which surprisingly I was the first to notice.
That ended up a very good two hours with six patch ticks.........Shag, Whimbrel, Fulmar, Gannet, Mediterranean Gull, and Tree Creeper.
A quick visit to the patch this evening. It was apparent that a large percentage of the wildfowl and gulls had left the pool . Whether this was due to a larger than normal influx of holidaymakers I cannot tell....but there was little to record or photograph. One photograph I did manage to take was of the remaining cygnet and as you can see he/she is thriving.
Yesterday I decided on a trip to Devon to look for the Dartmoor Whinchat's and the CockwoodSlavonian Grebe as mentioned by Charlie Fleming in his excellent blog http://parrotletsuk.typepad.com/ It soon became obvious that the Whinchat was going to become a dip..so onward to Cockwood which lies North of Dawlish Warren on the River Exe Estuary.
We found the estuary and crossed a railway line (legally) to the rocky beach. Minutes after setting up the scope we found the Grebe amongst Mallards but also and even more surprising right across the bay a portable hide loomed into view which I knew immediately was Charlie Fleming and his iconic hide. Well to cut it short...Charlie found us and showed us where to get a better view and picture of the Slavonian Grebe
Well Charlie was a revelation darting about with full camouflage gear, tripod and camera and a few gadgets on his Chinese Bike. He was totally enthusiastic, energetic and probably eccentric to a degree or two. Take a long look at his blog and see the dedication that produces fantastic photographic shots.
Thanks for taking the effort with Angie and myself Charlie. We both hope to meet you again when we venture up your part of the World. Nothing can beat local patch knowledge
The heavily cropped Heron was photographed fishing at the poolside . This is the first time I have seen him away from the far reed beds. The heavy rain and lack of human activity possibly bought about this occurrence.
We counted four Grey Herons on the Beach Pool this evening....that is the best total we have seen since the blog started. The surrounding gorse area and beach were quiet compared to what we have been seeing of late....even the Stonechats did not show.
I’d like to say a warm “THANK YOU” to Sarah Glayzer of the “St Austell Voice” who stumbled upon this Blog and took the time to e-mail me to ask if she could write an article about the blog for her newspaper this week. Obviously I am thrilled and I hope this encourages people to become involved.
A Market Town since 1189 and has now undergone a major regeneration program .
The new shopping and leisure centre (White River Place) opened October 2009 and employs 500 - 700 people.
Imery's modernized China Clay industry employs 2000 which is a huge drop from the early 20th Century when tin, copper and china clay found in the hills made St Austell a major Cornish industrial centre.
Another industry still alive and kicking is the St Austell Brewery which celebrated 150 years of trading in 2001.
This blog aims to provide a documented account of the Natural History and Wildlife of this small stretch of under watched headland. Your participation would be most welcomed. To contribute to this Blog. Please send any photographs(old or new), sighting or articles etc to email@example.com