Sunday, 14 February 2010
What a difference a day makes
I was pondering various topics for future posts last night, on the basis that I had better start thinking of things to write now I've joined the blogosphere. One of the obvious candidates was "birds I'd like to see at Siblyback that I haven't". Not that this would be of any interest to anybody, but it is one of the enduring appeals of a local patch that mundane species take on a rather extraordinary importance. For instance I clearly recall punching the air when finding a Coal Tit at Aldcliffe (a previous patch and now quite renowned site - mainly due to the sterling work of Mr Carter - check out birdingaldcliffe.blogspot). Admittedly I was younger (much) and rather impressionable, but there you go.
Anyway, one of the birds that would be top of this list would be Smew. As friends will tell you this is one of my all time favourite birds, I remember the first one I saw, I remember finding one at Aldcliffe, and its been a long time since I've seen one. My first car was a knackered old pale blue VW Polo that had a registration starting SMB, which the aforementioned Mr Carter furnished with a rather nice vinyl pic of a drake Smew, and immediately became known as the "Smewmobile". Classy. The Smewmobile carried us to many a rarity, although I had to run it without an air filter as for some reason that more technical people would know, oil would find its way into the filter and suffocate the engine. Both door handles broke and I had to get in by opening the boot and with a cunningly shaped stick, pull the internal door handle from within. This was all fine until the internal door handle also broke (probably as a result of being yanked by a bit of wood), and I had to resort to climbing in through the boot. At least it was a hatchback.
Enough diversionary rubbish. After yesterday's impressive foray to Siblyback I actually did have a lie in. Decided to do Hannafore first before it was totally grocked out (its one major disadvantage) but when I arrived there were already sundry folk and assorted dogs and children in evidence. A quick trundle along the promenade was enough to tell me that, what with the tide being out and all (one day I'll learn to time my visits right) that a couple of Med Gulls was all I was going to see. I did pick up a flock of 8 Common Scoter heading east at range, but that was it. So to Siblyback, not feeling particularly enthusiastic but I had work to do and if nothing else it would be pure prevarication.
The sun was out when I got there, and it was quite pleasant. The photo is looking north towards Twelve Mans Moor. Certainly better than writing a communication plan. And it got better. Now this is one of those fabulous coincidences (and you know what's coming) because there in all its delicate glory was a fine Redhead Smew. I remind you that this is Cornwall and these birds are by no means common down here. It was an adult female. To give you an idea of how rammed with birds Siblyback usually is, the only other waterbirds were 13 Tufted Duck (not a bad count), 11 Little Grebe, 47 Coot (a notable number) and "some" Canada Geese. This is on a water body that is 3.5 miles round. Still, my second patch tick of the year (the previous was Great Northern Diver). Marvellous.
I also took a photo of a Buzzard being mobbed by a local corvid, which when adjusting the levels, became this psychadelic study! As you will already be able to tell, photography is not my forte!!