After a fairly heavy curry and beer night I was surprised how sprightly I felt at 0715hrs today when my alarm went off! The thought of Little Ringed Plover and Yellow Wagtail being found on my patch the day before (by someone else!!!) was a big factor in dragging my sorry ass out of bed. Plus I promised I would take my eldest daughter birding and meet up with my mate Brad!

Yellow Wagtail, Gwithian (P.Freestone)

So with broken cloud and a cold northerly wind biting our faces I found myself back on patch at 8am. The place seemed relatively quiet and I could see another ‘birder/photographer’ in the distance nearing the area where the LRP had been seen the evening before. A ‘flushing’ was inevitable when I saw him take out an oversized Canon Lens! Sure enough a wader flushed off the pool in front of him as he tried getting closer and closer. Just a Dunlin fortunately, so as I saw him wander off towards the beach we headed in the opposite direction. Good choice as I heard a Yellow Wagtail fly in to the fenced off area at the lighthouse end. It was soon showing well and what a superb bird! Then, as I grabbed a few record shots, the Little Ringed Plover flew in to join it. Again I grabbed a few photos before gesturing the other bloke to come over. “Ah, thanks”, says he, “I thought that was it I just flushed off the pool with the Dunlin”. Guilty as charged.

Little Ringed Plover, Gwithian (P.Freestone)

Anyway, the bird performed for a few minutes before flying over the bank and out of sight. Just as Brad turned up! Fortunately we found it again as it worked its way along the Red River away from the sea. Kneeling quietly behind a small bramble paid dividends as it came closer and closer. Erin was pleased with her ‘lifer’ and I managed a reasonable photo, using fieldcraft, remember that photographer bloke!?? A Willow Warbler and a Blackcap were singing from scrub near to The Rockpool Bar.

We then decided to head up Godrevy headland in the hope of a Ring Ouzel. Three Sandwich Terns fished offshore and a few distant Manx Shearwaters were new for the year list. Highlight of the morning for me were the 20 Purple Sandpipers on the rocks on the beach opposite the lighthouse. We had been discussing having not seen any at Gwithian this winter, so twenty was a real surprise. Most I’ve had before at this site is four individuals. They were tucked in with 28 Turnstone and 25 Oystercatcher sheltering from the wind.

Purple sandpipers and Turnstones. Can you spot ’em??

So a good three hours birding, another six species added to this years patch list, Erin had a couple of new birds and a record count of Purple Sandpipers. 81 species so far on patch this year. Looks like Im gonna smash last years total! Oh, and plenty of showy Wheatears!

Wheatear, Gwithian (P.Freestone)