We’ve been rather busy over the past few weeks with tours! The Spring season kicked off with a day tour in the east of the county. Vic had a day tour voucher bought for his birthday by his daughter, which turned out to be a great prezzie which involved two Lifers! We started in warm sunshine and blue skies at Rame Head where we soon located some stunning singing Yellowhammers and whilst watching these our target birds flew into a nearby bush. Male and female Cirl Buntings! The male flying down to the ground to feed, giving amazing close views. These were the first of 6 or 7 birds we encountered over the next hour. Other birds seen here included Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard, Raven, Chiffchaff, Linnet, Chaffinch, Skylark and Robin. We then headed to Wacker Quay, where we had previously seen Spoonbill and Avocets. No such luck today though and with the tide well out we did well to pick up some common waders and wildfowl like Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Little Egret and Great Crested Grebe. News then broke from the Birdguides Team that the ALPINE SWIFT was showing again near Par, just down the road from Vic’s house! So we decided to head back in the hope of seeing a second Lifer for Vic. Arriving back at Par we joined the small group of birders assembled on the old overbridge at Par Dock and were soon enjoying stunning close views of the massive swift as it soared overhead. A House Martin, Swallows, Sand Martins and Long-tailed Tits were also added to the day list before we headed off to our next destination, nearby Par Beach Pool. The three reported Garganey soon gave themselves up and we enjoyed great views of the tow drakes and single female. Vic’s garden provided further species and we watched Siskin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Marsh Tits at his feeders as we enjoyed a cup of tea. A great day with some superb birds.
The next day we were in Devon with the first of our Cornwall Birding Ladies Group spring tours. RSPB Bowling Green Marsh and the Exe Estuary was our morning destination and we enjoyed a pleasant walk from Darts Farm with singing Greenfinch and Chiffchaffs along the boardwalk to the main reserve. Once there, the hide was very busy but we all managed to get seated and had great views of two Spoonbills feeding in front of the hide. A few stunning drake Pintail stole the Best Duck awards with a supporting cast of Wigeon, Teal, Shoveller and Pochard. After lunch we decided we would try Aylesbeare Common RSPB reserve for Dartford Warblers. The sun was out when we arrived there but sadly the strong winds kept the birds low down and we only had fleeting glimpses!
Two private tours followed with German client, Angela for half a day on the 4th and a full day with Richard on the 13th. These were both local tours at St Gothian and Hayle but resulted in some great birds including Little and Arctic Tern and fly over Peregrines. A private ‘Tour for Two’ with Americans Robin and Cindi on the 14th saw us in West Cornwall enjoying Short-eared Owls and summer visitors like Wheatear, Willow Warblers, Swallows and Sand Martins.
Our second ‘out of county’ tour of the year took us back to Devon, this time starting at Yarner Woods where we caught up with Pied Flycatchers, Tree Pipit, Yellowhammers and after a bit of hard work, stunning views of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers! The afternoon was a repeat of our last visit to Aylesbeare Common, but this time we were more successful with great views of 5 or 6 Dartford Warblers including a showy male. The following day we had a full bus for our Cornwall Spring Tour. A Night Heron at Boscathnoe Reservoir proved to be a fantastic start to the day, followed by a stunning male Woodchat Shrike at Treeve Common and Blue-headed, White and Yellow Wagtails, with Whimbrels in a field at Sennen. Sadly we missed the male Golden Oriole but had great views of male and female Ring Ouzels at Chapel Carn Brea.
On 29th we were back at Yarner for a private tour for Christine and friends. Another great day was had by all with stunning Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Mistle Thrush, Tree Pipits, Garden and Willow Warblers, Yellowhammers and Siskins.
We recorded 180+ species so far on our winter and spring tours! A great start to the year, shared with brilliant guests!