Saturday 2 December 2017

Spoonbill, Yellow Legged Gull and Great White Egret at Hayle

Wednesday 29th November and despite still feeling crappy from jet lag and post holiday blues I caught the train down to Hayle for a days birding. It was cold with a biting north wind, sunny spells and occassional heavy showers when I arrived off the train at 9am and I headed off straight away to the Carnsew Pool where I quickly found the regular spoonbill, presumably the same juvenile bird that has been hanging around Hayle on and off for a couple of years now.

I walked onwards to the causeway bridge where a flock of around 400 golden plover were roosting on the mudflats, surprisingly my first of the year, but just as I set up my telescope to scan through them to look for the reported American golden plover amongst them they all took to the air and then circled around high overhead for around 20 minutes before resettling, a pattern they then followed throughout the morning, and despite looking through them each time they settled on the ground I failed to find their American cousin amongst them.

Golden Plovers

Golden Plovers and Lapwing

There were plenty of other birds to keep me occupied though - a greenshank. 14 turnstone, 21 bar tailed godwit, redshank, dunlin, lapwing, wigeon, greylag goose, oystercatcher, curlew and teal amongst others - and a brief dash past by a juvenile peregrine which spooked all the birds on the estuary may have been the continuing cause of the golden plover flocks nervousness.


I spent some time scanning through the bathing, preening and roosting gulls out on the mudflats but couldn't find the recently reported glaucous gull amongst the herring, black headed, lesser black backed and great black backed gulls present but I did find an adult Mediterranean gull in winter plumage and a very smart looking adult yellow legged gull with a Daz white head.

Yellow Legged Gull (Top Centre)

Yellow Legged Gull (Middle)

Yellow Legged Gull (Top right)

Yellow Legged Gull (Top)

Yellow Legged Gull (Left) with Lesser Black Back Gull (Centre) and Herring Gull (Right)

With the tide coming in I found the spoonbill roosting on Ryans Field where it gave some nice views and while watching the circling golden plover flock overhead in the hope they would also settle on Ryans Field I picked up a great white egret flying over heading east inland, my first Cornwall sighting of one and a complete surprise.



The golden plover flock eventually settled out of sight over on Lelant Saltings and with a heavy shower duly arriving I got soaked as I headed back to the railway station to catch the train back to Plymouth but it had been a very enjoyable morning despite the American golden plover dip.

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