DRIFT RESERVOIR - COT VALLEY - SENNEN COVE - ST IVES - HAYLE ESTUARY - COPPERHOUSE CREEK
WEATHER: attrocious to start with!! High winds, heavy bouts of rain. Then calm and some sunshine in the afternoon.
You could hardly stand up in the strong winds and driving rain that greeted us as we went to breakfast in the restaurant next door to the hotel, it was just as bad when we set off for the day's birding at 9am.
We stopped briefly at Drift Reservoir but never got out of the car! The water level was so high that no margins were visible and we would have got a soaking walking down to the water so we gave it a miss.
So, we drove over to St Just and took the minor road into the Cot Valley. I couldn't believe the difference in the weather. The rain had stopped the wind had gone completely and the sky brightened up, this was at 10am.
The beach area at the mouth of the Cot Valley where we saw a Whimbrel, Rock Pipits, Grey Wagtail, Oystercatchers, Shag, Cormorant and Gannets.
Our walk down to the mouth of the Valley was amazing, so many birds were flitting about in the bushes and we had Red-billed Chough, Jackdaws, Crows and Ravens flying over us. We saw dozens of Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests a few Blackcaps and a single Garden Warbler. Blue,Great and Long-tailed Tits were roaming around in flocks and a large, mystery warbler, flew across the lane in front of us never to be seen again.
part of the Hayle Estuary seen from Leylant railway station
At the beach area we saw many Rock Pipits, Grey Wagtails, Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Shags, Gannets and a single Whimbrel. Several Grey Seals 'bobbed' in the turbulent sea.
From Cot Valley we drove down to the Nanquidno Valley stooping a few times to scan the trees, but the wind and rain was more prevalent there. also stopped to scan the St Just Airfield which was not in use becuase of the bad weather, we never saw a bean on the short turf around the runways.
part of the Hayle Estuary looking from Ryan's Field
We ate our picnic lunch in the beach car park at Sennen Cove where I scanned for seabirds and found only Gannets. A hot drink in the beach cafe went down well.
The disaster of the day was my attempt to find the car park at St Ive's Island, the SAT NAV took us through most of the narrow streets of St Ives, which were croweded with tourist, I nearly squashed a few of them.
We never made it to the car park and so we gave up. Many reports were coming in of bird sightings in Cornwall, Red-backed Shrike, Melodious Warbler, Hoopoes, Wryneck, Woodchat Shrike and an American Cliff Swallow was found on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly. I think this was the 3rd one in the UK this week!
the prize find on the Hayle Estuary was this juvenile Garganey, very hard to pick out from all the Teal around it because it was not very well marked
record shot of the Osprey which flew over the estuary, it was very distant when I took this picture through the scope
As the afternoon began to brighten up and clear we spent some hours at the Hayle Estuary and Copperhouse Creek looking for rare waders and gulls. We saw many species of waders including Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Ruff, Dunlin, Ringed Plover but nothing rare.
my first winter Wigeon of the autumn
We did find the juvenile Garganey and saw the Osprey that had been making regular sorties along the estuary. We missed Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper becuase we never walked around Carnsew Pool or further down the estuary.
Dunlin and Common Ringed Plover
Copperhouse Creek in late afternoon sunshine
many Mediterranean Gulls were loafing around in the creek
Considering it was a dreadful day we got around to a few sites and enjoyed some nice afternoon birding.