Black-tailed Godwit at Ryan’s Field, Hayle. (c) Paul Freestone

It’s not very often I get a whole day to myself to go birding on NYD!! But today was one of those rare opportunities so I was up at first light tagging along with Ash Hugo’s family day out! At 7.15am I stuck my head out of the kitchen door to hear a Lapwing flying over! Day 1, bird species 1!!. By the time it got light we were at the Gannel Estuary and after a short walk bagged one of the two female American Wigeons that have been present for a while. After about an hour we had seen 41 species and added a few more at St Allen en-route back to Gwithian and Hayle. Twelve Fulmar, Shag and Gannet were added at Hell’s Mouth finally breaking the 50 species barrier before 11am! Gwithian provided us with a few new ducks including two Gadwall and two Snow Buntings were a superb addition to my Patchwork challenge list! Copperhouse Creek and Ryan’s Field were next and gave us some excellent waders that we weren’t expecting including Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, a knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Golden and Grey Plover. Marazion was left for another day due to the on-shore winds! Couldn’t hold my bins straight to see anything! Penzance and Newlyn were less blown out and Red-breasted Merg, GN Divers, Turnstone, Common Scoter and Kingfisher were seen. A couple of Chiffchaffs and a Black Redstart were a bonus at Newlyn. I embarrassingly county ticked Mandarin Duck at Drift reservoir before heading further west for chough. Bottallock and Men-an-tol were rained off so we headed back to Hayle for dusk. Glad we did as we found a Water Pipit at Lelant saltings and added Goosander and finally a Greenfinch. The day total was 86 species and we missed some howlers, like Canada Goose, Coot and a few common seabirds! The visits to Hayle and Gwithian ensured I made a good start to my Patchwork Challenge this year with 29 species at Gwithian and 50 species at Hayle.