Friday, 21 February 2020

Another couple of hard won ticks in Devon

Whilst away on a "non birding" break with the family I'd already sneaked off for a morning to bag Cirl Bunting and Blue-winged Teal and that was after gaining a couple of ticks on the doorstep of the cottage we rented but the rest of the break proved difficult to find birding time although I managed an hour at Newlyn on a drive down to Lands End where I dipped the Black Guillemot but did pick up a year tick with an Eider duck in the harbour and enjoyed great views of Great Northern Diver and Iceland Gull whilst searching for the Guillemot.

Iceland Gull at Newlyn
Great Northern Diver at Newlyn
My only other venture was an hour at Bowling Green Marsh whilst the family were enjoying some retail therapy at Darts Farm where we later enjoyed a great Cream Tea and the finest burgers imaginable from this great farmers market venture. If you are down that way treat yourself to the Rugby burger.

Long-billed Dowitcher at Bowling Green Marsh
Whilst at Bowling Green there was no sign of the Long-billed Dowitcher from the hide and after I'd walked to the viewpoint to search the estuary and then the Goat walk to search the other side of the mud without joy I walked back only to be told there was still no sign at the hide. I reluctantly conceded defeat and set off to walk back to the car checking the marsh through gaps in the fence as I went and to my surprise at the very last gap I found the Dowitcher and managed to put out the news for the other birders to get on it. For at least three people the bird was a lifer and one guy had visited several times without luck so he was very pleased with my find as was I.

Classics courtesy of Darts Farm
I dipped the Glaucous Gull at St.Ives but did enjoy a fine fish supper and my grandson really enjoyed the RNLI launch. St Ives was thriving despite the poor weather and remains a real family favourite. At Lands End I'd hoped to stumble over a Chough but that didn't happen as the strong wind kept us inside a little more than I'd have liked but the trip was a highlight with my daughter in law who'd not visited before.

Missed opportunities remained with Ring-billed Gull, Glossy Ibis and Lesser Scaup all possible if I'd had more time but we had some great time with our Grandson to compensate for the lack of birding and none of the life ticks of the previous week remained to test my resolve. (American Herring Gull and Pacific Diver)

All in all a very enjoyable laughter filled trip with the family which boosted the year list to 183

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