Thursday, 15 September 2011

Nobody can cross it! Unless you've got Yellowlegs!

Having only left Cornwall on Saturday for work in mid Wales, plans were soon made for a flying return visit when news of a Greater Yellowlegs broke on Monday evening. I met Dan Pointon on the M5 at 00.30 and we arrived on site in Wadebridge at about 03.30. First light came and went without any sign of the bird and despite an extensive search by myself and Dan, we couldn't relocate the bird. We decided to make the most of the journey down with some seawatching at Pendeen. Sods law came into its usual affect 30km into the journey down to Pendeen when my Dad (Mark Powell) rang Dan full of excitement as he had re-found the bird! We turned around and headed back, sticking to the speed limits of course! By the time we got there some idiot hunter had flushed the bird - the search was back on! Dan scoured the river as far as Padstow and despite his grand efforts I managed to re-find the bird, close to where it had last been seen 2.5 hours previously. At least we all got the bird in the end and the views were superb. Such a great bird, I couldn't get over just how long its legs were and how massive its feet were, certainly much more noticeable features in the field than I had imagined, see record shot below. Off to Pendeen ....

Greater Yellowlegs - Wadebridge, Cornwall.

Pendeen was brilliant, really wish I could seawatch in Cornwall every day at this time of year, maybe next year I will just go for it and rent somewhere for a month. Despite missing 2 Wilson's Petrels whilst we were watching the Legs, we still had some good stuff including the Great Shearwater below which passed by well inside the rocks! Totals were; Great Shearwater (2), Balearic Shearwater (28), Sooty Shearwater (15), Arctic Skua (19), Grey Phalarope (16), Storm Petrel (8), Sabine's Gull (6), Leach's Petrel (2), Bonxie (19 - see pic below), Arctic Tern (13), Pomarine Skua (1), Ruff (3). Click on any of the images to view an enlarged version.

Great Shearwater - Pendeen

Bonxie - Pendeen.

Being stupidly tired we decided to get a hostel for the night and drive back after a spot of seawatching at first light. The wind had dropped so it wasn't as productive as the previous day but we still managed the following in about 2 hours - Sabine's Gull (2), Leach's Petrel (1), Bonxie (14), Pomarine Skua (1), Grey Phalarope (1), Storm Petrel (4), Comon Scoter (14), Sooty Shearwater (4), Balearic Shearwater (2), Arctic Skua (10), Arctic Tern (20), Bar-tailed Godwit (20) and a single Knot. We stopped at drift on the way home to see the long staying Semi-palmated Sandpiper and the Lesser Yellowlegs Rob Capewell had found that morning. Both showed well but fairly distantly and were fairly mobile for one reason and another, both Yellowlegs within 20 hours - not bad!!!

Lesser Yellowlegs - Drift.

Semi-palmated Sandpiper - Drift.

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