March 2022

26th. The weather is great at the moment and we walked from Rinsey head to Praa Sands, then on to Prussia Cove and back.

Wheal Prosper

Praa Sands

We saw a pair of peregrines and found a young slow worm at Praa Sands. Lots of plants are beginning to flower now, including the three-cornered leek.

Slow worm

25th. Hetty saw up to 4 black redstarts in Barnoon Cemetery while I was back in Bristol. They appear to have gone now. There has been a strong passage through the country recently. In the absence of my 100-500mm lens I have been trying out the old 400mm f5.6 non-stabilised lens on the R5. It can produce some nice images with the 1.4x extender, at least in good light, like with this herring gull.

Herring gull

20th. A white-tailed eagle from the reintroduction programme appeared feeding on a dead calf just up the road at Crowlas. By the time we arrived it had gone, and we only saw a raven before the carcass was removed.

Raven

We walked from Botallack to the wonderful Kenidjack valley, where we saw another two chough.

Kenidjack

On 18th we visited Botallack, and I saw a pair of chough. One was unringed, the other a bird a colour ringed bird. Hilary, who coordinates sightings of choughs in Cornwall, tells me 'He’s yellow/black paired with unringed. He turns four this year, and he fledged from a West Penwith nest. These two bred for the first time last year so hopefully they’ll fledge more chicks this year'.

Chough

Chough

There were up to 3 purple sandpipers at St Ives Island during our stay. I saw a female/first winter black redstart in Barnoon Cemetery, and two fieldfare near Hellesveor Cliff.

black redstart

Fieldfare

17th. The adult Kumlien's gull was first seen at Newlyn Harbour on 19 Feb, and it took me almost a month to see it. It was worth it though, although I dropped and damaged my 100-500mm lens! I've seen a couple of distant birds before, but never one as confiding as this. In the morning it was around the rocks at Tolcarne, moving into the harbour as the tide rose. It looked very white in flight.

Kumlien's gull

Kumlien's gull

Kumlien's gull

Kumlien's gull

It swam towards me in the harbour.

Kumlien's gull

Kumlien's gull

Kumlien's gull

Kumlien's gull

Kumlien's gull

16th. Drove to Cornwall for the first time in a while.

Road to Cornwall

13th. No sign of the brambling in the garden today, though at least 15 chaffinches present. Male Kingfisher and flyby dipper at Snuff Mills.

Kingfisher

I spotted the first-winter ring-billed gull at Herriot's Pool and got some distant views. At least 3 sand martins too.

ring-billed gull

ring-billed gull

12th. Chiffchaff singing at Backwell Lake. Brambling still in the garden.

7th. He's still here.

Brambling

6th. Three red kites and a barn owl at Norton-St-Philip.

5th. Brambling still in the garden.

Brambling

 

4th. Back underground for thermal imaging.

Woodchester mansion

Lesser horseshoe bat hibernating alongside its prey.

Lesser horseshoe bat

Thermal imaging.

Thermal imaging.

Lesser horseshoe bats

Lesser horseshoe bats

We stopped off at Shepherd's Patch, Slimbridge on the return journey to catch up with the confiding glossy ibis there.

Glossy ibis

It was feeding on bloodworms for some of the time. One is midair between the mandibles in the second shot.

Glossy ibis

Glossy ibis

There's been a first-winter ring-billed gull at Chew recently. We didn't see it, but some first-winter common gulls often needed a second look. Ten cattle egrets and a barn owl were around the lake.

Common gull

2nd. The brambling was still in the garden, at least in the morning. Still having to shoot at ISO 25600 in the gloom. A pair of collared doves too - the first I've seen around here in ages.

Brambling

1st. A male brambling on the feeder in Bishopston - a garden first! Male blackcap too.

Brambling

Earlier I was at Woodchester Mansion working on a project on the hibernation ecology of lesser horseshoe bats using thermal imaging and ultrasound detectors. Greater and lesser horseshoe bat below. Red kite near Uley.

Greater horseshoe bat

Lesser horseshoe bats

 

January 2022February 2022April 2022May 2022June 2022July 2022