At the beginning January, I moved house to Porthleven – a small fishing village on the Cornish coast. A good excuse to test out the new patch and take part in Foot-it. The area does have a lot of potential. Loe Pool in particular can be pretty good for American ducks and has turned up quite a few rarities in the past (e.g. Black Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead) and being coastal, it always has the chance of the odd seabird. However, it lacks decent wader habitat. For this reason and because a holiday in the week of Jan, the act of moving house and a very busy job all competed with Foot it, I set myself a realistic target of 90. In the event I easily exceeded that target, but it was hard graft.
The local patch - getting Redshank and Greenshank involved a walk to Gweek
The first few days involved local sites. A Balearic Shearwater and Bonxie in the post-storm aftermath on my first day back from holiday started the challenge well. No Grey Phalarope, despite extensive searching. The photos below, actually taken last night after a lesser storm gives you some idea of the conditions.
Stormy weather - good for sea birds, bad for getting wet. Excuse the blurry photos. It was almost dark at the time. The house on the shoreline is large three story mansion and is perched almost 100m up the cliff. At the beginning of the year, the spray was breaking over the top of it.
Yellow-browed warbler. One of at least two overwintering the sheltered valleys. This one taken in better light a short while before my camera developed a fault (now fixed) in late December, but quite likely to be the same lingering bird.
Yellow-browed Warbler was probably the highlight of the second week – one of two that I eventually found over-wintering in the patch. A few unexpected birds in the third week: a pair of Pale-bellied Brent Geese on Loe Pool and Glaucous Gull nearby continued the good trend. However it wasn’t until the final week until I cleared up some of the easy birds: e.g. Goldeneye, Redwing, Fieldfare and involved trips much further afield than I thought would be necessary. I still missed some easy ones: Lapwing and Golden Plover – there just didn’t seem to be any about in the mild weather.
The full list. Target 90. Total seen 104.
A final assault at dark eventually my last species of the month: a Tawny Owl. Total miles: c. 120. Total species: exactly 104. Target exceeded by 115.56%!