MARIZION MARSH AND BEACH AREA – HAYLE ESTUARY AND CARNSEW POOL – NANJIZAL VALLEY
WEATHER: cloudy all day with lighter spells and some sunshine, light winds all day too.
Marizion Marsh has played host to a number of uncommon migrant birds over the last few weeks, the Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Hoopoe and Purple Heron are still there, so we set out this morning in the hope of seeing them.
We arrived at the road bridge in Newton Lane and started our birding by scanning the large pool beneath us. We quickly found Little Grebe, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Teal, Mute Swan and a Kingfisher. We heard a Cetti’s Warbler called several times before we actually saw it in flight. We did see Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Goldfinches before we left.
Whinchat at Marizion Marsh
Walking along the beach road we scanned the marsh area beneath us and in the scrub and weedy fields we found a Whinchat, Stonechat, a small flock of Meadow Pipits and a couple of Dunnocks. In water margin along the reed bed we counted 12 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, a few Mallards, Moorhens and a Mute Swan.
The group: L to R - Mike, Brenda, Lorna (half hidden), Debbie, Mary, Peter and Eve. A took a painful tumble whilst taking this picture. A classic comedic fall! Whilst moving backwards to fit the group into the picture, I stumbled over a curb and I fell backwards onto the road on my back....ouch!!
We scanned the bay behind us where a large flock of Brent Geese sat on the sea, there was at least 50 Pale-bellied Brent Geese out there with a single male Common Scoter. On the beach we found a few Pied Wagtails, some Rock Pipits and a couple of Turnstones.
A path took us across the open field of the marsh and into Green Lane where we searched for Woodchat Shrike and a Hoopoe, both of which had been seen yesterday. We quickly found the shrike which showed extremely well but our search for the Hoopoe ended in disappointment, this bird had flown off, it wasn’t seen all day.
a juvenile Woodchat Shrike
We did find plenty of other species whilst searching the horse paddocks for the Hoopoe, these included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch and plenty of common garden species.
Back on the marsh some of the group saw a Water Rail after it made its shrieking call and Mike found a Common Sandpiper. A Sparrowhawk dashed across the reeds chasing pipits and our search for the Purple Heron amounted to watching and hoping that the bird flew up from the reeds whilst we were there, but it never happened. We then walked back along the beach road and I was dragged into a café for coffee and cake.
some of the Pale-bellied Brent Geese on the shore at Marizion
We drove back to Hayle and parked in the Asda car park where we bought our lunch which was eaten sitting on concrete blocks on the track that leads you out to a sand-bar with Copperhouse Pool on your right and the river Hayle on your left. We turned off this track and took the loop around Carnsew Pool, the tide was dropping quickly and large areas of mud were exposed in the tidal Carnsew Pool basin.
It took us a couple of hours to walk the loop, we made many stops to watch the birds in the river and the pool. Our best sighting was of four Golden Plover, they flew over us calling and dropped down onto the mudflats a long way ahead of us, we eventually caught up with them bathing in a pool.
Three Golden Plover with a Dunlin (above) and two having a bath below
Other sightings included many Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Turnstones and we encountered some very tame Rooks which allowed very close approach. A large flock of Mediterranean Gulls sat on the sandy shoreline of the River Hayle with large numbers of Wigeon, Teal and Curlews.
Back at the bus it was now 2:30pm and a ‘mega’ bird had come up on the bird-news, a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER had been seen a few times at Polgigga on the track to Nanjizal, this was just 27 minutes away from us. The group agreed to go for the warbler, so off we went.
A group of about 30 birders were gathered about 200 meters along the private road to Nanjizal, we joined them and began our stake-out, staring into a woodland area, we spread out, covering about 100 meters along the road. Over the next hour we saw a few birds, Jay, Robin, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit and both Goldcrest and Firecrest. But no-one had sniff of the Warbler, a nice flock of 25 Golden Plover flew over, a kestrel sat on a post and a Swallow dashed by, but the warbler did not show.
We left at 4:30pm and headed back to the hotel, we had an encounter with a very close Common Buzzard during the drive back. T had stayed dry all day and we had seen a good selection of birds but not that many migrants.