Friday, October 29, 2004

Black Redstarts everywhere

We sat out the storm on Wednesday but by Thursday the weather had improved and we were ready to get out and about again. It was still windy from the southeast so we decided the shelter of the St Just valleys would do just fine. That morning a Wheatear had turned up on St Ives Island and I had seen Black and Common Tern in St Ives Bay so things were clearly moving.

Huge numbers of Chiffchaffs were in the Cott Valley and we found a Firecrest feeding very obligingly out in the open on some Gorse before counting at least 5 Black Redstarts on the cliffs at the end. Sennen likewise had a large fall of Chiffchaffs and a couple more Black Redstarts.

On Friday we headed for one of my favourite patches in Penwith: St Leven. The short walk around via Porthgwarra nearly always turns up something of interest. On this occasion there were a couple of Black Restarts around the churchyard and the adult male made a particularly attractive sight as it perched on the lichen-encrusted headstones. An adult Little Gull also battled past Porthgwarra over the towering waves.

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros), St Leven Church

Digiscoped with the Nikon CP995, Leica APO77 and 20x eyepiece.

We had called in at Marazion to see the Grey Phalarope that had been taking shelter from the storm on a small pool next to the road on Thursday but it was really too windy to attempt a photo. So we returned on Friday and the bird was still present to allow these shots:

Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius), Marazion

Digiscoped with the Nikon CP995, Leica APO77 and 20x eyepiece.

Despite being in the right place about 4 times the one bird that really eluded me was Waxwing but I didn't see any other reports of the Serin that flew past me near Land's End on Saturday just before we set off for home. A glimpse of yellow rump and a trilling call was all I got but it is still the first I have come across in Britain. A cracking end to a cracking week.

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