CARREG DHU – LONGSTONES CAFÉ – HOLY VALE – HIGHER MOORS – PRTH HELLICK POOL – PORTH HELLICK BEACH – PORTH WRECK QUARRY – DEEP POINT – HIGHER MOORS – ROSE HILL
WEATHER: very breezy but sunshine for most of the day.
We had a much better day today with a massive improvement in the weather and the birding. There are still no great rarities to look for so we concentrated on the uncommon migrants and we had a successful day doing that.
We left the guest house at 8:30am and walked to Porthmellon Beach where we saw a couple of Oystercatchers. We then walked along Telegraph Road up to Carreg Dhu. We made many stops along the way looking into meadows and agricultural plots and such-like without seeing a bean!
Lots of butterflies were on the wing today, two Commas shown
It was also quiet at Carreg Dhu (a Cornish Name for Black Stone which was quarried on the site) especially in the gardens, we saw all the common garden species but nothing else. In the pines at the back of the gardens we found our target bird the Firecrest, in fact we found two together!
We then walked up the track to Longstone’s Café and I was forced to stop by the group for a coffee and a cake. We saw a Sparrowhawk from there and many House Sparrows, Blackbirds, Dunnocks and Song Thrushes. A Common Pheasant was new for the list, spotted as we walked further along the track into Holy Vale.
a perfect Spider's Web found in the gardens of Carreg Dhu
We searched for flycatchers and warblers in the trees and shrubs along the Holy Vale trail and came out with not a lot! We heard Water Rail, Long-tailed Tit and Chiffchaff, we saw Blue & Great Tit, Goldcrest, and very little else. At the road at the end of the first trail we scanned the paddocks and found both Stonechat and Whinchat, we also saw lots of Barn Swallows, a few House Martins, a small flock of Meadow Pipits, also Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnets and a pair of Kestrels.
our first Whinchat of the trip
We walked into the marshy area called Higher Moors and sat in the hide there which gives you a view of the Porth Hellick Pool. It took us a couple of minutes to find a Jack Snipe which was distant but showed reasonably well, performing its bobbing action as it fed on the banks of the pool. Over the next hour we watched the Jack Snipe, 3 Common Snipe, Coots, Moorhens and Mallards.
Jack Snipe - it was distant but it performed well for us
From the hide near the beach a Water Rail sat preening in the warm sunshine and a female Teal went onto the list. We walked short distance to the beach at Porth Hellick were we sat and ate our picnic lunch, what a beautiful spot for a picnic.
The tide was receding as we ate and many waders were feeding on the shoreline, we counted 8 Greenshanks, dozens of Ruddy Turnstones, Ringed Plovers, Oystercatchers, we also added Little Egret (3) to our list and we saw Rock Pipit, Grey Heron, G BB Gull further afield and Gannets out at sea. A Shag sat on a rock and Carrion Crows flew around the bay.
the Porth Hellick Pool - the Jack Snipe was in the far left hand corner
Our walk up to the Ancient Burial Site on the top of the hill produced another Whinchat and Matt found our first Willow Warbler. May butterflies were now on the wing we had recorded several Commas, dozens of Speckled Woods, also Small Whites and Red Admiral. But the best of the butterflies was a Clouded Yellow seen as we walked down to the quarry at Porth Wreck.
can you spot the Wryneck in this shot
The quarry had been sought out by a Wryneck for the last four or five days so we thought we give it a try. One guy was looking for it but ad no luck. We set up our scopes and scanned the small quarry from the entrance. We found lots of House Sparrows and surprisingly a lot of species on the rocks that covered the beach. We saw Stonechat, Linnet, Rock Pipit and White Wagtail.
It was Peter that found the Wryneck, it was sitting boldly out in the open in the centre of a bush, hooray! We watched it for about 30 minutes as it flew down and started to search for food in the grass. We added Greenfinch too as we searched for the Wryneck.
when Peter found it the Wryneck was sitting in a bush
we got much closer to the bird from the north side of quarry rim.
We walked around to north side of the quarry and had even closer views of the Wryneck what stunning bird. We finally left it in peace and followed the coastal path around to deep point, we watched our first Northern Wheatear and saw more Stonechats. On the rocks at Deep Point we found a Whimbrel and several more Shags and a couple of Cormorants. We followed the path round to Porth Hellick and took the trail back through Higher Moors, it was now mid-afternoon and the wind had picked up a little making birding the shrubs a bit more difficult.
At Rose Hill we searched for Pied Flycatchers which had been seen by others this morning but we could not see any, we did find our first Blackcaps (2) of the trip. It was now coming up to 4:30pm. So we made our back to the Guest House, we had to return early because dinner was booked at 6:30pm in a pub in Hugh Town, which was lovely.