Lesser Florican - August 2023

Total Pageviews

Sunday 23 July 2023

Black-winged Kite, a Cornwall seawatch... and recent bits

A fairly busy late spring and early summer has seen me neglecting my blog, however, I'm keen to catch up as speedily as possible, especially on my recent trips and I'm fully aware I'm only a third of the way through my WPO adventure. 

Anyhow, away from going abroad, in late May I moved into my house, situated on the very edge of Alton. It's lovely, and I was thrilled during the week just gone to find a male Brown Hairstreak a mere 50 yards from my back garden (trumped by a Purple Emperor today!!), along with many other butterfly species. Recent moth traps have also been excellent. Birding has been on the slow side, but with autumn migration now upon us, I'm looking forward to some coastal visits.

Brown Hairstreak

On Friday morning, Emily and I left at 1.30am and drove via a short diversion in Dartford, to Felixstowe Ferry, arriving just before first light, We met Jake and together we joined the 10 or so other birders, who had miraculously already located the Black-winged Kite at its roost. It was constantly preening and just before it was nearly time to head off to work, the kite took flight and showed off its typical flight and hovering before disappearing out of view. A relief to connect with this first/second for Britain and it was even better not having to go to Norfolk for it. Having seen so many abroad I didn't think I'd be that impressed, but they are such excellent birds and one can't fail to be impressed. Also present were two Little Owls, three Hobbies and a Whimbrel also flew over. I was back at work at 8.45am... phew!

A distant video freeze frame of the Black-winged Kite

The bird's roost on the left; the Little Owl home on the right

Roll on to the Saturday morning and after only six hours sleep in two nights, I was driving down to Cornwall for my annual spout of seawatching. I had been eyeing up the conditions since Monday and they looked very favourable, albeit very wet. This didn't put me off and after only a 4.5 hour journey to Porthgwarra, I was joining eight others on the cliff at 7am. The afternoon was very wet and so I re-positioned down to the cove which worked wonders, especially with several Cory's Shearwaters passing very close - absolutely superb!! No megas this time around but all of the hoped for species were seen, totals below:

Cory's Shearwater - 25
Great Shearwater - 2
Sooty Shearwater - 8
Balearic Shearwater - 2
Manx Shearwater - ca. 40,000 (at times passing 10,000 an hour)
Storm-petrel - 20
Arctic Skua - 1
Whimbrel - 1
Common Scoter - 4

freeze frame shots of a Cory's Shearwater
passing Porthgwarra