Sunday 11th January 2009
Dinger and I headed out to Ide in search of a Hawfinch that I had seen earlier in the week. Within a few minutes, we were treated to some excellent scope views as a bird sat up in one of the orchard trees. We then made a quick visit to nearby Dunchideock, where Lee found at least 3 Brambling in amongst a small Chaffinch flock. A good old fry-up at home was just what the doctor ordered before we headed off to Budleigh Salterton for a rather "bracing" stroll along the seafront! A female Eider on the sea was the only real bird of note, but it was all a bit half-hearted birding to be honest as the wind was very strong and very cold! Bumped into a couple of Budleigh locals in one of the shelters and had a bit of banter with them. Then, it was off to the "Cosy Teapot" Tea Rooms for a cream tea, hot chocolate, tea and tea cakes, oh and of course a coke for Dinger just to lower the tone in this quality tea room!
Saturday 10th January 2009
Dinger and Walls came down and we went to Zennor in search of the big white one! It did not take long to realise that we were in the correct area due to the numerous precariously parked cars along the road! A short walk up onto the moor produced the boy! It took me back to St. Martin's when I first saw this bird really well in November and it still looked as impressive, despite it being fairly distant. We were also treated to some flight views (and no it wasn't flushed!!) I think some people have become a little too precious about this bird and they forget that sometimes birds do actually fly of their own accord too! We then headed on a bit further and soon had some great views as the bird was much closer sitting on a dry stone wall preening. By now Dinger's hands had almost frozen, so their was only one thing for it - The fantastic Hayle Tea Rooms! This tea room is run by one of the sweetest old couples that you will ever meet, but of course we weren't there for chit chat, we were there for lard! Tea, tea cakes, hot chocolate and chocolate tiffin all showed very well - Lovely! Of course there was also the great supporting cast of a couple of adult Mediteranean Gulls, a Black-tailed Godwit and a few Bar-tailed Godwit all visible from the warmth of the tea room - My god we are getting old, but loving it! We then headed onto Penzance where we had some good views of 3 Purple Sandpipers at the Jubilee Swimming Pool. To finish the day we ended up at Long Rock Pool, Marazion where Lee froze until dusk as we waited for a Bittern that never came! Back at home, in front of a warm fire a Toad in the Hole and a treacle sponge, custard and cream soon revived us all!
Thursday 8th January 2009
Today the Stanbury, Russky and myself decided to meet at Radipole to twitch the "plastic" Hooded Merganser. No sooner were we out of the car than the suspect appeared within centimetres of us! Not only that, but it also took a liking to our Jaffa Cakes!
Other highlights at Radipole RSPB Reserve included a few Bearded Tits including a cracking male and a second winter Mediteranean Gull. We headed onto Ferrybridge where a gathering of 30+ Red-breasted Mergansers seemed a little less plastic. Then onto the Isle of Portlland for a cracking Fry-up with lashings of baked beans and mugs of tea and excellent service! Next up was a visit to the Verne, in the optimistic hope of finding that lurking Yank overwintering, but we had to make do with some good views of both Great Northern and Black-throated Diver together. The final part of the day was spent at Lodmoor RSPB Reserve where the Stanbury pulled out a fly-over Spoonbill and we waited in the freezing conditions for a Bittern that never showed! However, a Dartford Warbler, Sparrowhawk and a good number of Lapwing made a good winter scene.
Tuesday 6th January 2009
Went to Ide this afternoon - Lots of Fieldfare and Redwing around but no sign of the Hawfinch from this morning. Mammal of the day went to Mr Cunning himself.....