Friday, 30 April 2010

Black Clouds of Insects at the Sewage Works.

Black Clouds.

Decided to have a look at the Hirundines at the Manoa Valley 1200hrs and was far from disappointed with hundreds feeding on the black clouds of insects.
The Swifts and House Martins were Patch and Year Ticks for me.

Report from Roger Lane. 30th April 2010

"Hardly worth a mention on this grey/wet day, but a brief visit to Par Bay yielded just 2 x L.Egrets (over) and 2 x Gannets ! Waited in vain for any terns to show. So no little tern again this year.
Stopped off at Carlyon Bay c.5pm and saw just 4 x Fulmars and 6+, 'missing' Sandwich Terns. The 4 fulmars represent the total inhabitants here, just 2 nests (no more flat ledges!). Bye April."

Thanks for the report Roger.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 29th April 2010

"Change in the weather brought down some birds at the Sewage Farm. Visited Manoa when rain was at it's heaviest and hirundines at their lowest ! Was amazed with the number of birds, seemingly occupying all local airspace. By driving across the cattle grid towards Menagwins and parking in the field some quarter mile on, it is possible to look down on the (ever changing) flock, and differentiate species ie. see the white rumps of house martins etc.
From this viewpoint I estimated some 400 birds ! Took awhile to ascertain the proportions, though at one time 150+ martins and swallows were resting on overhead wires, and it didn't seem to reduce the main flock ! Anyway I eventually came away with a best estimate of : 30 x Sd.Martins (coming to end of imm); 250 x House Martins(now at peak imm); 100 x Swallows (passed peak) and 20 x C.SWIFTS (my 1st this year on usual date !).Total flock MAY have been 500, wouldn't argue with that !
Went to Par still in rain, and it was useless ! Nothing to mention even in Bay. On way home called in at Carlyon Bay cliff car-park and due to calm sea was able to pick out: 3 x Gannets; 3 x G.N.Divers and 2 x B.T.Divers. Not bad for a day's rain, but where are the Waders ? As at: Thurs. 29thApril, 2010."

Thanks for the report Roger.
It seems it paid off on a rainy day.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 28th April 2010

"Not a lot doing today. Spent the afternoon at Pontsmill during a sunny patch. Proportions of each species are changing as more emerge. Briefly: 1 x Brimstone; 1 x Lg.White; 2 x Sm.Whites; 20+, G.V.Whites; 10+, Orange-Tips; 3 x Holly Blues and 3 x Commas. Note increase in GVWhites since last week. Over half-dozen Blackcaps (breeding pairs and immigrants ?). Not much else 'cept Chiff-chaffs !
Went down to Par but sun clouded over, ZERO butterflies but over the sea at high tide was 1 x Black-tailed Godwit; some 15 Terns, most if not all being Sandwich Terns, but suspicious about 4 or 5 smaller and flying lower, most likely to have been Comm.Terns, but all terns disappeared (to roost?), and never had another chance !"

Thanks for the report Roger.

Mark and myself struck gold in the reed beds as I suppose you Have probably read by now.
Were we lucky?...I reckon we were extremely lucky especially with the Cetti's Warbler.

Extra Ears brings Home the Bacon.

Kicked off at 1000hrs which is my earliest weekday start. Thought I would have a change today and decided on Carloggas Downs hoping for a Cuckoo. It was quite chilly at the top of the Downs and although the birds were flying about they were extremely wary and I never managed one reasonable photograph. What I saw was ..A Raven, Countless Skylarks and a Handful of Meadow Pipits , six Greenfinch, Stonechats and Corvids.
On to PBP at 1115 hrs and I happened to bump into Mark Whittaker on the car park.
We joined up and went to see if the Warblers were singing in the reed beds. Although the first ten minutes we saw nothing ..Mark was making hand signals of how many birds were singing...I think the best count was probably eight. The Cetti's Warbler was singing close by and we had a brief glimpse of it as it disappeared into the reeds. Then things started to happen...we saw Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers and believe it or not...two more (at least) clear views of the Cetti's Warbler. Once in the Bushes and the clear view in the close by Tree. Neither of us was quick enough to get a photograph although I was watching through the bins on the last occasion and the bird was in clear view to me but somewhat shielded from Mark who was ready but the Cetti's dropped down into the undergrowth.
This evening I again went to the Downs 2015hrs and as I was driving up saw the Cuckoo in exactly the same place as I photographed it last year on my birthday June 6th. I did photograph it from one hundred yards in bad light and a very low shutter speed hand held even though it is clearly a Cuckoo I will not be putting it up.

So a roundup of the day.
No Life Ticks
Three Year Ticks .
Three Patch Ticks
Six Patch Year Ticks.

A good day I reckon and special thanks to Mark Whittaker who provided the ears and expertise. Thanks Mark.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 27th April 2010

"Strange day of variable weather, the sun came out strongly at 4pm, I was in the wilderness area at Par, and the following butterflies put in an appearance : 3 x Sm.White; 1 x GVWhite; 2 x Orange-Tips; 1 x SM.COPPER, male, my 1st this year and earliest for patch I believe, also 2 x Peacocks; 1 x Comma and 10+, Sp.Woods
Even stranger day for birds, the were none to speak of, apart from the Cetti's Warbler singing loudly from a gorse bush 10ft from the road ! The only other bird of some note was in the western wilderness (with the butterflies). I was near the Par river when a cricket started up, I thought, but as it went on and on ! I realised it was a GRASSHOPPER WARBLER, almost under my feet ! The reeling stopped and a LBJob was seen to flit across the river tributory (narrow there) into low vegetation on the other side, looking like a gropper should i.e. 'streaky backed'. (Have seen several at Breney including broods. Although this one was typically in low vegetation, there were reeds round about, but I discounted Savi's Warbler which favours open environs. I doubt if this was the one heard last week in the dunes (some half-mile away), but who knows. Anyway it was my first seen at Par,"

Thanks for the report Roger.

Well done with the Gropper...another for the Latest Sighting List.

The Wren Provided the Music.

Magpie Happy with the Bench Area.

The Blackbird Family Come for a Takeaway.

Early Start.

Early start this morning 1000hrs. I was hoping optimistically that the Common Tern was still at the PBP...unfortunately he was not. Nothing else was either except the residents.
Moving up to have a look at the misty shoreline all I spotted was five GBB Gulls bobbing on the far away sea with the Herring Gulls. Next up the Dunes by the Par River and a couple of Pied Wagtails and a Stonechat were welcome sights. Walking towards the Wilderness I saw Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Robin and numerous Blackbirds.
The walk as far as the woods turned up nothing and I stopped awhile in an area where I have never hardly seen a bird. Today was a little different as I watched Great Tits and Blue Tits fluttering about in the Fir Trees. Taking the path back between the caravans and the woods I spotted the best of the day...a male and female Bullfinch ..the female being a first for me at Par. Alas! they were gone too quickly for me to get a photograph.
On to St Andrews ..and as the Pool was virtually empty I proceeded to the Hard Rock Cafe and Swamp Area. After baiting up a little my first visitor and a new one for the Cafe was a Magpie. Very little else was seen ..Blackbirds ,Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits,the proverbial Robin and two Wrens in the Swamps.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 26th April 2010

"Tried Manoa Valley and Pentewan Valley this morning, but NOTHING, not even a hirundine. Back home with some shopping and a quick lunch before spending a couple of hours at Par, which wasn't much better ! Firstly the western car-park, apparently nothing but 5+, Sandwich Terns. Of course tide is right in during afternoons, otherwise we should be getting some waders by now, surely? As it was, the only waders were 9 x Whimbrel (flyover).
Sun came out (briefly) around 4.30pm so had a wander around the wilderness and actually saw a male Orange-Tip butterfly. One of what was, until recently, a strong colony here. But we already have this species, from Pontsmill. Birds were few and far between, but I did see a single Jay and, in the dunes a male Linnet in breeding plumage, presumably nesting as usual in the gorse bushes.
Back at PBPool I could hear Sedge and Reed Warblers, and the Cetti's Warbler, back in the usual place, gave me a quick blast of song form 4ft away, but never saw a thing ! Mark was indeed very fortunate !
Then parked back at the west of the Pond to eat some 'afternoonsies', nothing except 6+ Swallows, so was watching the rabbits(!), when out of nowhere appeared a very tired Tern which rested on the grass of the pool-side, just some 12ft from the car ! There it stayed until I left half-hour later ! This gave me plenty of time to confirm it was a COMMON TERN, my 1st for the year ! Would have made an excellent photograph, have never been so close for so long. Perhaps someone saw it this evening."

Thanks for the report Roger.
I gave it all a miss today but like you I also saw an Orange Tip Butterfly... in the back just flew across but there was no mistaking the orange tips.

Well done with the Common Tern...another for the latest sightings.

Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Great Spotted Woodpecker ......Dendrocopus major

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 25th April 2010

"A pleasure to meet you and Angie this evening, even if you had a much better day than me ! Really, the total list for the afternoon, after rain and cloud this morning, was 2 x G.V.Whites in the St.Blazey Valley and 2 x Sm.Whites at Pontsmill ! The only birds of the day, from the western car-park at Par were: 2 x Gannets and 12+, Sandwich Terns. Could only check about 8 of the Terns for species, but I think they were all Sand Terns (i.e no Comm.Terns, fishing from considerable height). Hope you saw them, I had a look from Carlyon Cliff car-park on the way home, and could see NONE around Polkerris, so maybe thay had gone to roost (Par Harbour Wall). Ah well you can't win them all. What I want is a Little Tern, since I missed out on them last year. Do you know we had a flock of 36 x Little Terns in Par Bay only 2 or 3 decades ago!"

Thanks for the report Roger.

Yes it was nice to see you again even though I was well tired out after a long walk that only really yielded Wheatears. Early sightings were a Whitethroat along with Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers but this was out of bounds. Testing the car really. We did see the Sandwich Terns but it took me a while.
So the tally for the day was three Year Ticks (Whitethroat, Wheatear and Sandwich Tern) and one Patch Tick Sandwich Tern.
A tiring day though.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 24th April 2010

"Negative report again, went to Par but visibility awful i.e. nothing seen over the sea (high tide though). Only birds near PBPool were 2 x Little Egrets. Since a pair bred a couple of years ago at Par East (producing at least 1 youngster (seen with parents, more grey), then I think it worth keeping an eye on them and see if they use the same tree, IF, they nest ! Regular feeding flights to feed sitting bird was the only thing which gave away location !"

Thanks for the report Roger.

Looks like I did not miss much by giving it a miss.

Friday, 23 April 2010

St Andrews Robin

Robin .......Erithacus rubecula

Photographed today at St Andrews Swamp Area.

Report from Roger Lane. 23rd April 2010

"Went 'out-of-bounds' today up to Breney Comm. and Helman Tor. Hot but too windy, a fair-few butterflies around Breney perimeter, but drew a virtual blank on Helman Tor, not a bird or a butterfly! Saw my first 20+, Large Red Damselflies at Breney, but that's a late spot (high). No cuckoo heard either, not even a migrant wheatear !
Called in at Par on way home c.6pm. Only Sedge Warbler heard at the pond, but on Par Beach were 12 x Whimbrels, while 20+ flew west (after all it is 'whimbrel week'!). Only other items noted were 6+, Sand. Terns. Sorry it's so brief, not your patch really anyway ! "

Thanks for the report Roger.

I have rounded off a dismal week bird wise. Today was a carbon copy of yesterday including the Kestrel. The Manoa valley was just as bad as St Andrews and Par with very little seen except Corvids.
Even though I stated the Dipper was easy to see after knowing its patch I will now retract that statement as I can see how the new growing vegatation will provide a lot more cover than when I saw them daily in the winter months. I am still on the learning curve.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 22nd April 2010

"No birds at all today, did go to Pontsmill despite the cold wind, and was 'rewarded' with a goodly selection of eight butterfly species, though nothing new ! This desite a strong, cold, easterly wind, which nearly blew me off my wall. In fact, for the first time in some 25yrs there my field note-book DID fall off the wall, down 15feet into a bramble and nettle patch, which I had no hope of accessing. Fortunately a young lady more agile than me, went to considerable lengths to retrieve it for me. THANKYOU LIZ for the first time!
Only 15mins later I dropped it again out of a supposedly zipped up pocket ! THANKYOU LIZ for a second time ! Hope you saw a Holly Blue for your trouble !
Now, my day-list (2hrs) at Pontsmill amounted to the following: 3 x Brimstones; 1 x LG.White; 5 x Sm. Whites; 2 x G.V.Whites; 8 x Orange-Tips; 2 x Holly Blues (on way back to car park!); 3 x Peacocks; 3 x Commas and 4 x Sp.Woods. This included a stop at a small field on the way out, away from the woodland.
30+, on a chill day like today can't be bad ! Thanks again Liz for saving all my records back to January !"

Thanks for the report Roger.

You are using an advanced form of back-up Roger. The lady most certainly deserved the thanks and I hope she reads all about it.
What a wonderful collection I reckon you went home well pleased. is getting worse. At 1400hrs I was watching the reed beds for signs of the Warblers which a kind gentleman told me were singing....not a sighting.
The Grey Heron was fishing the margins again and I also saw some small Moorhen chicks in the reed beds along with five Mallard ducklings.
Nothing else of interest only a Kestrel hovering over the Dunes.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 21st April 2010

" A little better today, despite the haze and cold. Went to Par without much hope really ! Stopped at the Pool to listen, and five warblers sang for me, including the Cetti's (just once, and from the far side of the pool from the road!). The others of course were Chiff-chaff, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler (and the Cettis). So I went to the wilderness and waited until I heard a Blackcap, six Warblers, all heard but none seen !!! I failed to hear the 7th warbler which may have been present !
Up to the western car-park, no problem with space today. Had a good look at the sea, and indeed there were 9 x Sand.Terns, if not more, and the usual couple of Gannets. Overflying the Bay were 4 x Whimbrel, and in the Dunes, 1 x Wheatear was seen.
Back to the Pool and not one but 2 x Little Grebes were seen, one (male?) in very dark summer plumage, following a pale (female?). Also at the pool, on the causeway to the island was 1 x Common Sandpiper. Not bad for a 'stay-at-home' sort of day. In fact the Whimbrel, the Wheatear and the Sandpiper were year ticks!"
Thanks for the report Roger.

O timing was bad. I decided to give PBP a miss and go down the Manoa Valley instead.
8 x Wood Pigeons
2 x Chaffinches
1 x Buzzard
1 x Long-tailed Tit
1 x Robin
1 x Dipper
1 x Grey Heron
plus Gulls and Corvids.
Not much about Hirundines, Goldcrests or Warblers seen.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 20th April 2010

" Not a lot to shout about, what with the changeable weather. Set of toward Pentewan this morning (off site), but saw a breeding Grey Wagtail in the Pentewan Valley, and noticed Swallows taking up their territories enroute. Only worthwhile item at Pentewan was a group of c.10 House Martins (my 1st for the year! How late can you get ?). These were also on territory at the large colony above the village.
Thence back to Par (no hirundines at Manoa Valley, clear skies by then, had enabled them to move on). At PBPool, not a sound from the reed bed again (5pm), nor anything noteworthy on the pool. Out in Par Bay (low tide) were 5 x Sandwich Terns; 4 x Gannets and 1 x G.N.Diver.
Called in at Carlyon Cliff car-park on way home and saw another 2 x Gannets and 1 x Sandwich Tern (possibly along from Par). So I suppose something is better than nothing !"

Thanks for the report Roger.

I can echo much of what you have said. Standing by the reedbed for twenty minutes again at 1100 hrs and never saw the reeds move once let alone see a bird. The beach and bay (high tide) was deserted except for a lone Pied Wagtail atop the dunes by the river. After a pitiful morning I was glad to see it and was about to photograph when he was spooked by dogs and a walker.
The Wilderness produced just a lone Speckled Wood on the wing.
St Andrews was not a lot better. A very friendy Robin, Blue Tit and a Jay that I saw four times but it kept its distance.
May should be a bonanza month I reckon.

Speckled Wood

Photographed yesterday in the Wilderness area of Par.

Michelle's Swallows

"Our’ swallows started repairing their nest this morning :-) so fingers crossed for another successful breeding year."

Thanks for the information Michelle...a photograph will soon be in the offering.

Report from Roger Lane. (April 19th 2010)

"Absolutely nothing to report again (must be this settled weather!). But how could I better Mark's superb photo's of the Cetti's today ? At least that means it DOES show itself and you can see it too, which is more than I have, failed again today!
Even fewer butterflies at Pontsmill today, due to wind change i.e. only 1 x Holly Blue today; EIGHT sightings yesterday (17thApr), but nothing new either day.
The Cetti's must be one of THE most difficult birds to photograph. Can't help remembering how fortunate you were (at Radipole) to get a good shot. Let alone one singing from a willow, supposed to be the denizen of the reed beds !
Getting a bit disillusioned with endless sunshine, people parked all along 'my' coast, but a marked improvement today with the end of Easter Fortnight. I must go down to the seas again.
Which reminds me, there was something new yesterday, two young children came up ans showed me 'what they'd caught' which was a live 6" Starfish !"

Thanks for the report Roger.

I followed Mark at PBP at 1400 hrs and watched by the reed beds for twenty minutes and never saw a bird.
The Heron was again fishing at the poolside and five Mallard ducklings were swimming close by.
The Wilderness yielded up eight butterflies of which I managed to photograph two of them..a Speckled Wood (the one you have seen) and a Comma.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Cetti's Warbler.

Photographed today by Mark Whittaker at PBB.
Mark's report below.

Report from Mark Whittaker (19th April 2010)


3 x Sedge Warblers seens and heard ( 2 x in the reeds by the depth marker & one behind the toilet in some scrub)

2 x Sandwich Terns in the bay (One flew towards the Gribbin and the other round to Spit.

Best bit .. 1 x Cetti's Warbler in the reeds by the depth marker. "

Thanks for the report Mark. Great capture the Cetti's Warbler. Well done.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. (18th April 2010)

" V.good Grand Prix, Lewis didn't win, quite, but nor did Vettel ! Watched the 'early' morning session so that I could go out this afternoon, but have to admit almost complete failure ! Butterflies at Pontsmill were so-so considering the wind-chill, but nothing new.
Moved to Par and there were a doz. butterflies in the wilderness, at least. But my stop at the reed-bed to listen for warblers was met with total silence, good job Mark heard some! I feared they had all moved on. I do find (yesterday) that when one starts, several others join in. If not one sings then none may do so. Evenings would be the best time.
I hope you remembered to take your camera into the grounds today, and some more birdfood !"

Thanks for the report Roger.

I also got up early to watch it. It was a good race and I think Button deserved his victory.
Yes I got everything ready for my hour stint looking for the Jay...then disaster struck...I had to make an unplanned trip that cost me thirty minutes of the sixty I had. Maybe the same thing happened to me...I waited for twentyfive minutes with only a lone Great Tit to show for it..then just as I was about to leave, down came the Nuthatch, Robin and Blue Tit. I grabbed some quick shots..nothing spectacular and had to leave. Maybe something kick starts them all off. Failure today.

Report from Mark Whittaker (18th April 2010)

"No sign of the Wheatear on the beach this afternoon (12pm-2pm), most probably due to the hordes of people on it. At the pool by the depth marker were 2 x Sedge Warbler singing (1 seen) and 1 x Reed Warbler (seen but not singing). No Cetti's seen or heard. Hopefully still with us !!"

Thanks for the report Mark.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. (April 17th 2010)

"Day off today, partly due to G.Prix practice ! Did visit Par and saw 6 butterflies, cold wind-chill didn't help, nothing new in the butterfly line then.
However, I stopped by Par Pond just east of the marker to listen for the Cetti's Warbler but NOT singing (for 2nd evening running, hope it hasn't moved on to find a mate elsewhere !). But, in addition to Chiff-chaffs and Will.Warblers, there was some noise coming from the reed beds ! The place was heaving with SEDGE WARBLERS (well, half-a-dozen at least !), and also 1 x REED WARBLER at least. Most were only heard, except for 2 x Sedge Warblers (seen).
Could not find anything on the sea, no hint of the R.N.Grebe ! Maybe Mark, or someone, did a little better. Trouble is it's 'moving on' weather and I think we are being overflown by birds that a drop of rain would have grounded. But perish the thought, this sun was long awaited !"

Thanks for the report Roger.

The Cetti's is always going to escape me unless it shows itself clearly.
Nice to know the other Warblers are active.
Vettel all the way tomorrow.

Report from Mark Whittaker (17th April 2010)

"Par Beach

3 x Wheatear on the beach by the disabled ramp (2m + 1f)"

Thanks for the report Mark.

New one for the site.

Missed Opportunity.

Angie was again visiting her friend and I decided again to checkout the site for the Jay. After baiting up the area I settled down in the car to wait. Within minutes the whole area became alive with birds. First down was a pair of Coal Tits followed by a duo of Robins and Chaffinch. Next Was the turn of a couple of Nuthatches who continued raiding the feed for the forty minutes I was there. A male Pheasant wandered by and then three Squirrels decided to join the action along with Blue and Great Tits. All this was happening right in front of my eyes a photographers dream especially the Nuthatches. Now the bad news....I left my camera behind because of a few later port of calls so I have no pictorial record of the event. Ironically I never saw the Jay.

Tomorrow we have to go back again and I certainly will have the camera with me.

Friday, 16 April 2010


Grey Heron .....Ardea cinerea

Photographed today at PBP by the depth marker at the East end of the pool. The Heron was mingling with the Canada Geese close to the shore. Although a fair few people were passing it just continued its fishing....eventually it did fly off to the back of the pool.
Nothing else except a pair of Small Tortoiseshell in the wilderness area.

Report from Roger Lane. (16th April 2010)

" No I'm sorry to say it's only a Small Tortoiseshell !Only 4 x P.Ladies reported in G.Britain yet this year, but heard from Morocco, thousands are on the way. Your's could be a wilderness photo, there is a sizeable colony out there breeding on the short fresh nettles
Nothing to report today I'm afraid, even slow for butterflies at Pontsmill.However, I did see my first Green-veined White in the St.Blazey Valley (SX0655). Don't know if you count this as 'the patch' !
Oh, did find the Sp.Hawk's nest at Pontsmill and saw the male bird for first time (female 'daily', she seems to have been doing all the hunting ). I think the female took over from the male, probaly her turn to incubate !"

Thanks for the report Roger.
I think it is close enough to include as things have to be somewhat flexible.
Added to the year list.


Sorry it was not a Painted Lady I saw on the 13th April but a Small Tortoiseshell.

Report from Mark Whittaker (16th April 2010)

"Working today but popped down to Spit Beach this evening. No sign of Red necked Grebe due to alot of boat activity in the bay, but 3 x Whimbrel were present on the beach."

Thanks for the report Mark.

The nice weather certainly draws the crowds Mark.....we have to live with it. It will get a lot worse as the summer approaches.

Late Reports

Thanks for the Reports Roger, Mark and John.

Sorry they are up late but a visitor interupted my normal work practise.

I did a very quick scout around St Andrews and did see a few more of the woodland birds around the Cafe area than on my last visit ..the best was a pair of Marsh Tits. The usual Wrens (swamp area) Robins, Blackbirds, Chaffinch, Blue and Great Tits and a duo of Rooks mopping up the leftovers. The Pool held nothing new only residents.

Report from Roger Lane. (15th April 2010)

"Great news about the Red-necked Grebe(s), mid April is the right time for them, but usually off Charlestown/Porthpean. Divers a-plenty I see too, from Derek. I can't get to overlook the sea much, due to the easter tourists ! Regarding Par birds, I did call in briefly (6pm) to PBPool, where I had the strange combination of 1 x Tufted Duck, 1+, Whimbrels calling overhead and a VERY elusive Cetti's Warbler. It sang first from the reeds, then a willow, then a gorse bush and finally a fir tree, befor retracing it's path back into the reeds. I was 2 metres away again and despite it's repeated singing I did not SEE the bird at all ! How do they do that !
Otherwise it was to Pontsmill and butterflies (following another hosp.appointment all morning). Did quite well considering wind-chill: more Brimstones, Sm.White; Orange-Tips; Holly Blues etc., but the only 'new' one for the patch was 1 x Large White (male).
I see Mark found those Red-legged Partridges yesterday, among others. Wonder if he was out today, or working !"

Report from John Rance (15th April 2010)

"Not much to report actually! The usual bits n' bobs on the pool, a lone male Tuftie being about the highlight! A female Mallard with 13 (count 'em!) ducklings, a few Swallow, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, and a pair of Blackbirds feeding 2 chicks on the campsite...nice day to be out and about though!

Of course I only found out about the RN Grebe when I got home, having decided to skip a trip to Spit! I think the expression is d'oh!"

Report from Mark Whittaker (15h April 2010)

"4 x Chiffchaff, 1 x Willow Warbler and 1 x Blackcap. All heard singing within distance of the depth marker. No sign of Cetti's this morning. Also 1 x Kestrel (F) who I saw catch and carry off a Common Lizard.
Also of interest on the pool at exactly mid-day was 1 x Tufted Duck (M).

Wildnerness area produced 2 x Blackcap (Singing), 5 x Chiffchaff (singing) and 5 x Speckled Wood Butterfly and 3 x Peacock Butterfly."

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Sent in by Derek.Julian.

Latest sightings from BirdGuides, 15 Apr at 12:01

15/04 12:01 CORNWALL : Red-necked Grebe, Par Beach [A]
one off Spit Beach this morning; also 4 Black-throated Diver, 3 Great Northern Diver, 14 Whimbrel and a White Wagtail.

Thanks Derek.
Looks like I missed out again..only did a brief visit to St Andrews 1030 hrs.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Report from Mark Whittaker (14th April 2010)

"Report from Menabilly Car Park

Blackcap (M) x 1,
Pheasant (1 melanistic) x 4
Linnet (30+)
Chiffchaff x 1
Skylark x 1
Swallow x 3
Red Legged Partridge x 2 (In field directly left as you drive in)

Also walked up to the Gribbin Head and sat for a few hours. No sign of any migrants, just a few Chiffchaff. Male Peregrine present on cliff and 1 x Seal heading towards Fowey."

Thanks for the report Mark.
I never made it out today and I think Roger also had a day off.

St Andrews Wren.

Wren .........Troglodytes troglodytes

A little added soft focus for a dreamy effect.

Report from Derek Julian. (12th April 2010)

"April 12th.
Spent an hour or so, at lunchtime in the St Austell area;
Swallow - 2, Chiffchaff - 1, Blackcap - 1, Mute Swan - 2, Mallard - 3 (with a brood of 10), herring Gull - 37, Moorhen - 3, Great Northern Diver - 1, Gannet - 1, Shag - 1, Pied Wagtail - 2 and a single Peacock Butterfly.

Fulmar - 19, Herring Gull - 23, Raven - 1, Chiffchaff - 1 singing, Great Northern Diver - 2, Black-throated Diver - 2, Shag - 2, Oystercatcher - 1, Great Black-backed Gull - 2, Swallow - 1.

A single Swallow was also noted at Ruddlemoor."

Thanks for the report Derek.
How much longer are the Divers likely to stay around?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. 13th April 2010)

"Had about as poor a day as you had ! Where have they gone ? Away to set up territories and start nesting I hope. Some not far away, others up-country. Theoretically the place to be in Apr/May is on migratory headlands, in our case the Gribben or Black Head, neither of which we can drive to !
However my day was enlivened, like your's, at with the sighting of 3 x HOLLY BLUE butterflies, my first for the year and I believe for the 'patch'. Only a dozen other common species.
This evening c.6pm I called in Par B.Pool to see if I could hear Mark's Cetti's Warbler, and nearly got blown away by the racket of one nearbye (2 metres)! Not the song, but it's warning calls! No doubt about it, it was in the spot Mark said, just east of the marker post, and just MAY be setting up territory there ! Mind you I did not SEE it even at 2 metres ! (Don't know if there is a female around either)."

Thanks for the report Roger.
The Holly Blue is another for the year list.

Peacock Butterfly.

Photographed today at Par Wilderness.

Par and St Andrews Pool.

Decided to do today a couple of sites I missed yesterday...namely Par and St Andrews Pool. First off St Andrews at 1030hrs.
The pool was quieter than normal and only held the residents
Off to leave some food at the Hard Rock Cafe. After placing the food I took a short walk into the swamp area and saw nothing. Back to the cafe where I was hoping for a few photographs of the woodland birds. It must have been ten minutes or more before a Blue Tit became the first arrival and the last for another ten minutes or so.
Altogether I saw a male and female Blackbird, Robin, Great Tit and Blue Tit on the feeder. Where have they all gone?
Luckily I spotted a Wren and followed it around the Swamp Area for a while ending up with it posing for a good photograph or two. Also managed to photograph another one in the same area.
Saved by a Wren and Robin.

PBP was much the same and as hard as I tried I could not spot anything out of the ordinary.
The Bay was even a worse disaster with nothing but the usual Herrings Gulls and the odd GBB Gull.
Off to the Wilderness where my luck changed. Just past the Boardwalk was a lovely Peacock Butterfly and it remained still enough for me to get photographs of which I am really pleased with. My first Butterfly of the year.
Within five minutes I had added a Painted Lady(sorry it was a Small Tortoiseshell) and Speckled Wood.

The Jay again gave me the run around this evening but I nearly got him....all the small stuff was missing as was the case at the other two venues.

Incidentally...this month during Hesper's morning walk I have seen a Redwing on the 2nd, 6th and 10th ..hopefully again tomorrow if the sequence continues.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. (12th April 2010)

"Glad to hear the car is back in order, only sorry that you had a poor day's outing. It was due to the SE wind-chill, in part. Stops many birds from singing, and the butterflies from flying ! I've had a v.poor day too, nothing to report for today, visited Trenarren without seeing a single butterfly there (saw a dozen elsewhere, but nothing new). You were a little early for butterflies at Pontsmill, noon to 1pm you should get a Brimstone or two (on the Carmears Incline), and other species, noteably Comma, in early afternoon. The day has to warm up to their flight temp. NE/SE wind-chill put paid to that today !
Yesterday I got fed up with the patch and drove to Breney Common and Helman Tor, then Respryn (packed) and Par (packed!). Only thing of note was meeting Mark ! Except I did find the 1st ? 2 x Rd.Admiral immigrants, atop Helman Tor, engaged in the strange ritual for newly arrived immigrants, called Hill-Topping "

Thanks for the report Roger.
That probably explains why I had such a dismal day. The butterfly information has been stored and will be acted upon on my next visit. Probably wait for another warm day before going again to Pontsmill.

Report from Mark Whittaker (12th April 2010)

"St.Andrews Pool - Female Swan on nest back right of pool in marshy area. Male has a ring on his right leg. Have sent details to the BTO, will give you a update when I get the information back.

Par Beach Pool - Singing Cetti's Warbler (8pm -ish by the depth marker) Double checked the song when I got home to be 100% sure."

Thanks for the report Mark.
Well done with the Cetti's Warbler....hope someone can manage a photograph of the elusive bird at Par.

I Saw Little and Heard Nothing.

Things are still not right with the car but I decided to venture forth. I decided to go and see my first butterfly of the year at Pontsmill as Roger had whetted the appetite somewhat. Also I had noticed seasoned logs for sale and I wanted a couple of nets to build up my woodpile in the garden.
A quick look for the Dipper and the Nuthatches in the tree yielded nothing. The feeders were also very quiet and only a few of the common woodland birds were seen.
I walked up to the old workings and climbed to the top....nothing...back down I noticed high above a Buzzard being mobbed by three Corvids...well that was something.
On the return to the car park I saw a Wren in the undergrowth..a couple of Chaffinchs and what may have been a Jay...but probably was not. So I can say with quasi certitude my little butterfly trip which started at 1100hrs yielded zero. The only plus factor was the logs which the nice lady gave me ...thanks for that.

Later in the afternoon 1400hrs I had a quick walk down the Manoa Valley....again the birds were well hidden or not there at all. The Hirundines were absent also the Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers we saw on the last visit. What did I see?...not much. A Goldcrest, a hundred plus Herring Gulls, Jackdaws , Rooks all following the plough. A brief glimpse of the Dipper as he shot past upstream. Also upstream someway away was a Heron fishing the river and it was spooked by a dog and walker on the opposite bank. On the return...just a Chaffinch or two and a Robin. No butterflies again.

It is a hard game with no ears.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Report from Mark Whittaker (11th April 2010)

"Paid a quick visit to the pool this evening and had a chat with Roger who has been chasing butterflys today. Very little in the way of "new" things. 3 singing Chiffchaff were noted with a singing Willow Warbler. Plus 6+ Goldfinch chasing each other round the reeds. There are now just 6 ducklings left from the original 12? I did see as I left the heron again stalking round the reeds were the ducklings are. I'm hoping he hasn't got a jar of orange sauce tucked under his wing."

Thanks for the report Mark.
It seems as the ducklings are taking a hammering. Not a lot happening at the moment then.
Although I got the car returned today I have not yet tested it...hopefully I shall be out and about on a limited scale tomorrow. Still on dog watch for another two weeks.

Butterflies. One More from Roger Lane.April 10th 2010

"The only thing new for the butterfly list is/was SPECKLED WOODS (1st at Trenarren, and then 4 at Holmbush and 1 at Pontsmill !). 6 in one day after a week searching !"

One more for the Baywatch list. Searching paid off in the end Roger.

Friday, 9 April 2010

A Varied Report from Roger Lane 9th April 2010

'Do hope you're not suffering too much while 'confined to barracks' on these much warmer days (still a SE wind-chill at Pontsmill and Par). Seems you havn't missed (m)any birds, and it took a lot of driving and much walking to reach 40 butterflies (all day in fact). But nothing new, just lots of Brimstones(15), Small Tortoiseshells (10 !), Peacocks and Commas. Saw the Orange-Tip again at Pontsmill, just the one, but 3 other species were seen elsewhere in C'wall (GVWhite, Sp.Wood and Lg.White, ELSEWHERE)
To me the most interesting item was one you don't cover: a single BEE-FLY (Bombylius major) at Pontsmill where there is a very local colony (only 10 days late !), google it, there's nothing quite like them, cute !
Otherwise, in the Par wilderness (15+ butterflies), LTTit pair; a Jay, that Raven again (may be interested in the pine trees but a bit late, for Ravens nesting), and of course Chiff-chaffs.
On Par East Cliff, workmen are all over the car-park but you CAN get in ! Saw just 1 x Peacock and A PAIR of Stonechats, back from somewhere !
Large Red Damselfly should be out now, if you have a garden pond ! But it is BLACK in it's 'teneral' form for the first 4 or 5 days ! No other species is out yet.'

Thanks for the report Roger.
Car goes in first thing in the morning so fingers crossed.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Butterfly List 2010

An Orange Tip (male) Anthocharis Cardamines was sighted by Roger Lane this afternoon at Pontsmill.
Another beauty for the list.

Report from Roger Lane. (8th April 2010)

'Birds for Thurs.8thApr.'2010:
Nothing exciting I'm afraid, just behaviour interest, hopefully. The usual crowd were at Pontsmill while I was butterfly watching, noisiest being Chiff-chaffs and Blackcaps! The Dipper was also on the stream. But high over the valley sides were 1 x Sp.Hawk & 1 x Raven, the latter was doing an interesting display flight 500ft. up, above the presumed site of it's nest and mate. Every so often it would flip over onto it's back and fly along upside down, diagnostic of a Raven but always a delight to watch ! The other birds were 6 x Buzzards, two of which grapled talons and fell earthward through about 100ft crashing into the high oak trees. I only saw one leave, looking more than a little dishevelled ! Battle over female or territory ?
The Par wilderness was 'filled' with noisy Chiff-chaffs, at least a couple of pairs courting, so hopefully there will be 2 or 3 nests. Goldcrests are still in the pine trees too, breeding? At the other end of the scale another Raven was circling high above the wilderness area c.300ft, I don't know if you can count this or not !'

Thanks for the report Roger.
Another lovely day and I am getting slightly worse so cannot risk breaking down.

Back Garden Jay.

The Jay was photographed by Michelle O'Shea in her rear garden last year. She is still waiting for its return this one.

Thanks for sending the superb photograph Michelle...I personally know how elusive they can be. You have done really well.

Butterfly report from Roger Lane April 8th 2010

Thanks for mail, I don't chase butterflies any more, but let them come to me ! Incidentally I've got two more for your blog list, if you wish, from this afternoon's SUN.

At St.Blazey (town) in SX0655: 1 x SMALL WHITE, flew across road and car bonnet.

'Wilderness' Par west in SX0753: 1 x SMALL TORTOISESHELL egg-laying on nettles.

I also have an early date 2010 for the Red Admiral at Trenarren in 1Km Square SX0348:
Sat.6thFeb.2010: 5 x RED ADMIRALS flying in their overwintering

(PS: Dragons don't start until 1stMay, Damsels earlier).

Thanks for the report Roger....sorry it is up a day late.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Nuthatch at a Baywatch Site.

Nuthatch........Sitta europaea
The Nuthatch has been a Bogey bird for me so I was well pleased with of a few images I took it was the first time I have managed to photograph one.

Car Problems

Don't we all just love car problems..especially when they are not logical. Mine will go about ten miles perfectly then when it warms up the clutch pedal nearly hits the board. Once it has been left it is okay again. I believe it is water in the brake and clutch fluid that turns to steam and causes the clutch to travel before biting. Whatever the reason it curtails my activities and things are looking grim until it goes in on Saturday to be looked at.....until then it will have to be a trip to the Manoa Valley or local private site.
Keep the reports coming in .

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Pheasant Surprise

Pheasant.....Phasianus colchicus
Whilst out on my unsuccessful wild Jay chase I came across this Pheasant.
What a lovely colourful bird he is.....and very obliging as he posed and strutted around..

Reed Buntings

Reed Buntings are the latest addition to Michelle O' Shea's local garden. She is still waiting for the return of the Jay and nesting Swallows but added her first Starling today collecting nesting bits.. and says.....
'I’m getting a bit hooked on back garden birdie-ing.'

Thank you Michelle .

Photographs taken by Michelle O'Shea.

Garden Visitors.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Butterfly and Dragonfly List 2010

The New Butterfly and Dragonfly List for 2010 appears on the left hand side of the blog just after the Bird Lists.
If anyone has any earlier sighting and would like them listed please send an email. (Left hand side of the blog)
Also any new sightings with or without a photograph will be put up on the blog if prior permission is given.

Report from Roger Lane. (April 5th 2010)

Yes G.Prix was interesting, maybe not quite as good as the Australian GP, but worth getting up at the crack of dawn for (8am!). Met a Chris Hollyoaks at Pontsmill today, whom you met recently. A photographer of all and sundry, and reads your blog. So he knew me 'by proxy' as it were ! What other idiot would be sitting on a wall at Pontsmill under heavy cloud and wind ! Consequently I didn't see much, but the best of it is herewith:

E.Monday,5thApril.2010: Sat at Pontsmill under grey skies hoping the cloud would break, but no, thus not one butterfly. I did remember that a reliable member of the public I met yesterday, 4th, did say she had found her first bluebell higher up the incline, that day. Paper today says they are at least 3 weeks late this year ! ( Her's was an English bluebell, not the Spanish interloper).
Today, 5th, most of the 'usual' small birds were present, mostly residents and almost certainly on breeding territory, from Goldcrest up to Nuthatch and Dipper. A flock of c.30 Swallows was again feeding in leeward of valley sides. Larger fare seen included 1 x Kestrel (scarce here); 1 x Raven (breeding) and no less than 8 x Buzzards together (but no Sparrowhawk). Willow Warblers are also scarce at Pontsmill and I have NOT heard them there again this year.
Down to an overcrowded Par, sqeezed into the western car park just before the rain and managed to see: 6+ Gannets and 5+, Sand.Terns. Back at the PBPool (5pm) the heavy rain shower brought down c. 15+, Swallows and 5+, Sd.Martins, but still not a single House Martin. I presume the BTGodwit was hidden by visitors !

Thanks for the report Roger
Hello again to Chris.
It most certainly was not a butterfly day but you seemed to have bagged a good haul of birds at Pontsmill.

Valley Visit.

Around 1430 hrs we decided to go and look for the Willow Warblers at the Manoa Valley. Sand Martins and Swallows were hawking high above the sewage tanks in numbers I estimate C20 with the Martins greatly outnumbering the Swallows.
The trees alonside the path adjacent to the sewage tanks was alive with small birds which were identified as Chiffchaff but a little way further along the path Willow Warblers in double figures were searching the trees.
The Dipper(s) today were nowhere to be seen and I have noticed in the past they go upstream through the tunnel under the main road.
Nothing else was seen except a few regular Gulls, Corvids and Tits.
Still the Willow Warbler was a year tick so up the ladder we go.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Report from Roger Lane. (4th April 2010)

"Nothing worth reporting for yesterday, 3rdApr.2010 ! Not a lot in the way of birds today, Easter Sunday, 4thApr.2010. Spent most of early afternoon hours at Pontsmill, only 'difference' appeared to be an increase in singing Chiff-chaffs and Blackcaps, saw the Nuthatch AND the Dipper again ! Spent most of time on Caermears Incline waiting for butterflies to come to me ! Due to the wind-chill i.e. despite the sun, the number of butterflies seen in 2hrs were as follows: 10+, BRIMSTONES; 1 x PEACOCK and 1 x COMMA (also 2 unidentified, since too fast and scruffy !)
Went to Par, rather late, but was difficult to park even ! Did look around the wilderness area (but very muddy still), and found another 1 x PEACOCK butterfly. Heard from friend Ray there were still a lot of singing Will.Warblers at the Sew. Works this morning, and 3 x Sand.Terns plus 1 x B.T.Diver off Spit this afternoon."

Thanks for the report Roger.
Again circumstances prevented me getting to Par today so I am glad of the report.
I still have not seen a butterfly this year so it looks as if I time it right Pontsmill could rectify matters.
The Manoa Valley is one of my favorite places I shall be chasing the Willow Warblers for the important year list.
Hope you enjoyed the Grand Prix.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Pity about the Twigs.

Eurasian Jay ........Garrulus gladarius.

Photographed yesterday at a private Baywatch site.
The Jay is often seen at the site and I am hoping for an uncluttered close-up soon.

Report from Roger Lane. (1st-2nd April 2010)

Have brief lists for 1stApr and 2ndApr. but weatherbound this 'Easter Sat' !
Thurs.1stApril,2010: St.Austell Sew Wks: just 5 x Swallows (no rain to concentrate them over tanks). Pontsmill: 2 x Chiff-chaffs (seen & heard); 1 x Goldcrest; 1 x Nuthatch (no Dipper!); usual titmice on feeders, slightly depleted by season) also 5 x ornamental Chicken, 5 x Guinea Fowl (one White), 1 x Peahen & 1 x PEACOCK (displaying to hen). This is NOT an 'April Fool' trick, but they were all fenced in an enclosure ! Par Beach Pool: c.8 x Sd.Martins; c.12 x Swallows and 1 x Blk.T.Godwit of course! Par Bay: 10+, LBBGulls; 1 x Sand.Tern and 5+,Gannets.

Sat.2ndApril,2010: Pontsmill: went birding but in 20mins of SUN, I saw first a COMMA butterfly and then a single male BRIMSTONE, just before the sun went in, again ! Also saw & heard: 1 x Blackcap; 2 x Chiff-chaffs (immigrant?); 1 x Nuthatch. Also met Geoff Barter and partner. After which returned to car and a flock of c.30 x Swallows had moved in and were feeding around hillside trees. Funniest thing, back at house with feeders, were 2 x Jackdaws extremely busy pushing sticks and bedding down two chimney pots BOTH of which were totally covered with plastic mesh! They'll never see that nest ! Par hardly worthwhile: Par B.Pool: c.10 x Swallows; c.5 x Sd.Martins (and 1 x Blk.T.Godwit !). Par Bay: 10+, Gannets, fishing, and 1 x Sand.Tern.
Back at Holmbush: 5 x Can.Geese flew west, over, and our first single Swallow flew over. Must have been an influx of Swallows on the 2ndApril methinks.

Thanks for the report Roger.
Things are still quiet on the birding front this end.
Angie and myself saw the same? Peacock last year at Pontsmill.

Friday, 2 April 2010

L.T.Tit at the St Andrews Pool Swamp Area.

Long-tailed Tit ........Aegithalos caudatus

Just a Jay

Started the morning dropping Angie off at an old peoples home to visit a friend. Stayed in the grounds and did some birdwatching as I had noticed a Jay and Buzzard along with the usual woodland birds. Angie heard or has seen previosly a Nuthatch and Green Woodpecker and I have spotted a couple of Deer.
The Jay appeared a total of five times within an hour but all bar one it was too far away. When I did manage to photograph it he was clearly seen but with an array of twigs and branches in front of him..although it is not a bad record shot I am after a close up.
The afternoon I had a very brief visit to Par and St Andrews. Nothing out of the ordinary was seen. A handful of Hirundines flew high overhead and the tame B.T. Godwit was still strutting its stuff at the poolside. It was cold and wet at the Bay and all I saw was the Oystercatches far out on the low tide shore. St Andrews Pool held only local residents and the Hard Rock Cafe was very quiet also with just L.T.Tits, Robin and Blue and Coal Tits seen during our (my niece and myself)short visit.
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