Sunday, 15 May 2011

Finally .... a new British List Bird !!!! 14th May 2011

Today I persuaded David to take me to Rame Head in Cornwall to try and see an Iberian Chiffchaff that has been reported there for the last few days and I was in luck and saw it!! A new bird for my British list, having recently been split as a seperate and not sub-species of chiffchaff, and the first new bird of 2011.

After getting out of the car near Rame Church a chiffchaff was heard singing in sycamore trees but the Birdguides info stated the bird was 30 yards down the road in sycamores so off I headed. Luckily I saw a birder climbing over a fence and on chatting to him, found out that the bird was in a small spinney on the side of the field where there were no sycamore trees to be seen! I headed off into the spinney and eventually heard the bird calling for brief periods, a quite distinctive song and one I had listened too the previous evening on a bird song website. Eventually I caught a glimpse of it singing but it was difficult to find in the foliage and then difficult to see and difficult to keep track of. It finally showed very well for around 30 seconds, being a smart looking bird with green upperparts and yellow underparts reminiscent of a wood warbler and not the typical brownish pluamge of a chiffchaff. It had paleish legs and flicked its tail downwards as chiffchaffs do. It had a pale bill and a yellowish supercillium. It started to sing more often before becoming silent again so it was time to head off back to David and the car but it was a pleasent half an hour.

There is an Iberian Chiffchaff in there somewhere!
We then headed off to the Port Eliot Estate in St Germans and had a look around the house which is still lived in by its owners. The house is a private concern and not National Trust and had a relaxed and faded air unlike most National Trust houses. The Lenkiewicz mural in the house was very interesting to see and the lady guide in the room was very informative about its history and interpretation. Tea and coffee and walnut cake were enjoyed in the tea room (as usual when visiting country estates!).

Port Eliot House
The gardens were quite informal but the walled garden and orangery were beautiful. I saw a single orchid growing amongst the bluebells by the path. I am not sure what type it is but its leaves were plain and unspotted so I think it is an Early Purple Orchid but I am not totally sure if I have got it right. 

Early Purple Orchid ?

All in all it was a lovely day and a lifer to boot!

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