The weather wasn’t great for our day tour today with showers and drizzle most of the morning followed by wind and fog in the afternoon! However, we still managed 73 species including 16 types of wader! The tide was still high at Hayle first thing so we started at Lelant Saltings where the waderfest began. Unfortunately, so did the rain but we had great views of 6 or more Curlew Sandpipers, a Little Stint, 7 Common Snipe and 7 Sanderling among hundreds of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers. To avoid a further soaking we re-located to the hide at Ryan’s Field. Again, there was still plenty of water and the waders were confined to small grass island. We counted 13 Curlew Sandpipers, another Little Stint, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Turnstone, 2 Common Sandpipers and a Kingfisher! The Spoonbill was still present and looked decidedly miserable in the rain. A couple then came into the hide and asked Paul to identify a bird from a photograph they had taken at St Gothian Sands NR. This turned out to be a Grey Phalarope! So we jumped in the minibus and headed to Gwithian.
A search of all the water bodies proved negative for the Phalarope and the rain prevailed, but we soldiered on round the main pool adding Water Rail, Med Gull, Wheatear and Reed Bunting among others to our day list. Once back and drying off in the van we were just about to leave when a wader flew across the road in front of us and settled on the main pool. Paul got the binoculars on it straight away and proclaimed it was the Phalarope! Everyone alighted from the bus to see the bird take flight and head off towards the flooded pools at the seaward end of the reserve. We decided to head off in search of it, but once again we couldn’t locate it and presume it must have flown over the bank and out to sea. The second venture out wasn’t wasted though as a superb Whinchat put in an appearance on the conservation are fence.
The afternoon was spent at a foggy Kenidjack Valley. Birding was hard work and for little reward. An Arctic Skua passing at sea and a Sedge Warbler were the highlights, but we added a few more land birds to the day list.
So despite the weather, a great day was had by all with excellent company and one or two birding highlights.
Full List of Birds seen:
Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Little Grebe, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, Little Egret, SPOONBILL, Cormorant, Shag, Arctic Skua, Fulmar, Gannet, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich Tern, Moorhen, Coot, Water Rail, GREY PHALAROPE, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Sanderling, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Greenshank, Redshank, Common Snipe, Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Raven, Rook, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Stonechat, Whinchat, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting