Nothing about birding on the Lizard in Autumn 2009 can ever be straightforward. First the Brown(ish) Shrike, then the Green(ish) Warbler. The events of yesterday, are thus probably to have been expected. Tremough newby Will Jones and myself were down at Church Cove, witnessing the aftermaths of last nights Storm. Walking along the road near the carpark, we caught a bird out the corner of my eye, scooting across the small pool and into the dense vegetation around the edge. Something about it, didn't quite suggest moorhen, so I went down to investigate, while Will kept a close eye on the pool from above. The pool is less than two metres across at its longest and there isn't that much to hide a bird. Or so we thought. Just as I approached the water's edge and gave the vegetation a poke, out shot a crake! It flew across the pool, and landed in a clump of dense vegetation on the opposite bank. BLOODY NORA! Or, more accurately, the thoughts running through my mind given the hurricane force westerlies: BLOODY SORA! Unfortunately, the only features we got on it, were the fact it was smaller than Water Rail, had a brown back, streaked with black markings and a short bill. Confident, that we'd relocate it (it flew less than 2m away into a clump of vegetation less than two foot across), but very reluctant to repeatedly flush the bird, I decided to phone several local birders while Will kept a close eye on the pond. The alternatives to Sora were pretty good too: Little or Baillon's Crake (my impressions were of a slightly larger bird, but very hard to say on such a brief view), or perhaps more likely, a late Spotted Crake. As nobody could make it down for about 45 minutes, we decided to have one more attempt at flushing it, with a view to establishing its identity. However, the bird itself had other ideas: it spontaniously vanished. I walked over to the patch of vegetation we were both 100% sure it had flown into, and absolutely nothing emerged. Either it kacked in the bush, or it serruptitiously slithered away down the ditch that drains the pond, invisible, despite having to cross open ground.Unfortunately, vanished it remains, despite eight of us searching for it until dusk and again this morning. I hope someone finds it again. I'll have another search for it early this week, but I strongly suspect we let it slip away.
Apart from that - a very good candidate for a 'Siberian' Chiffchaff (so much so, that I submitted it to Birdguides as such) at Helston Sewage Works. I'm not totally up on the latest ID (comments on a post card please), but the bird lacked any hint of yellow/olive tones, the upperparts were grey-brown and the underparts were off-white, with a buff suffusion on the breast, flanks and ear-coverts. In true fashion, unlike the dozen or so colly chiffs present, it didn't call though. There was also an unseasonal Willow Warbler (standing out like a Bright Green Warbler amongst the other phylloscs - pp also seen) along with a classic steely grey-white abietinus.