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Day 6 (Thursday, 8th October)

Back again to Porthgwarra (7.30 – 10.00), where the wind was still fairly strong but had shifted slightly towards the South-east. The rain which greeted me yesterday afternoon had subsided to a much more pleasant dry sunshine. Best plan was again to walk a little way uphill to find the shelter of rocks, and seawatch for an hour or two on the lee side.

The most obvious passage birds were again numerous Gannets, many passing very close in to the shore. Following a pair of early shearwaters, which could not be clearly identified, a slow but steady stream of interesting birds went by. 3 Balearic Shearwaters prefaced 3 later Manx Shearwaters (both species passing as a pair and then a single bird). One of the 6 Arctic Skuas had the tables turned, since an obviously larger Great Black-backed Gull harried it for some time. The separate Great Skuas had a much easier time of their flypast.

There were also a few interesting incidents. 3 Pied Wagtails heading directly out to sea looked a little strange, but they were presumably migrating southwards for the continent. A flurry of some of the local Feral Pigeons was enough to see a large female Sparrowhawk scattering them just behind my clifftop perch. The best encounter was a pair of noisy Choughs only a few metres over my head, with a third bird landing a short distance from me briefly. After their first tentative return around a decade ago, seeing these slender corvids is not the surprise it once was, although they are apparently yet to breed around Porthgwarra.
 

Balearic Shearwater

3

Great Skua

2

Arctic Skua

6

Razorbill

1

Shearwater sp

2

Pied Wagtail

3

Guillemot

8

Manx Shearwater

3

Chough

3

Sparrowhawk female

1

 

Sunrise

Chough

The cliff watchpoint early morning

Chough

Last good bird of the trip was a very confiding Snow Bunting. I had aimed for and achieved locating Nanquidno, since it had been the spot for a few bits and bobs over the last week, including Siberian Stonechat, Firecrest and Lapland Buntings. A few birders were already present, and reported no joy this morning. The area might well have been worth more coverage, until I was told by one person of a very tame Snow Bunting a mere stone’s throw from my overnight gaff at Penzance. After parking the car on the seaward side of Newlyn, the cycle track where the bird was purported to reside was quickly found. A mere 5 minutes walk along this track, and the bird was summarily found, happily feeding on a small patch of man made shingle adjacent to the tarmac of the track. It was quite happy to pose this way and that before an approaching walker seemed for some reason to dish out concern, and it flew a short way along the coastal rocks.

Newlyn

Snow Bunting

Shingle edge at Newlyn looking towards Penzance

Snow Bunting

Just before final assault on the motorway network for home, I decided to head for Budleigh Salterton, just South-east of Exeter, for a trio of Glossy Ibis which seem to have been in the area for some weeks. This should have been a doddle – field next to the cricket pitch, and next to the River Otter. No-one had mentioned to the birds that they were honoured guests, and should stay put for visitors. A walk in both directions along the footpath adjacent to the river revealed nothing except for a lone Little Egret. After a sit and cup of coffee, I returned to look again in one of the nearby fields, to find the three birds at the opposite corner, mainly out of view while looking for food within the large tussocks.

Budleigh
There ARE 3 Glossy Ibises in the distance!

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Day 6

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