At some point, life will get in the way and birding every day will have to cease! So my intention is to get the winter birds ‘under my belt’ so to speak, so I’m not chasing round in December trying to pick up the odd species. A phonecall from Brad on the 2nd saw me dash down to Gwithian for a Grey Phalarope on the flood water near the sea defence. Cracking little bird and a good patch and year tick! (137). The following day was my rest day and the sun was out!! I took the opportunity to see the first-winter GLOSSY IBIS (138)that was found at Marazion the previous day. It showed incredibly well down to less then 20feet in a wet field at the back of Longrock Pool. This bird should be in Southern Europe at this time of year, so was no doubt enjoying the rare sunshine! I then headed for Newlyn where a couple of Glaucous Gulls (139) had been reported. Sure enough a superb first-winter bird was with the Herring Gulls on one of the jetty’s. I was conscious that high tide was soon approaching and I wanted to get back to Hayle to see what birds it produced there, but first I tried the Sancreed area for the 1st winter Ring-billed Gull. After 40 minutes driving round and scanning numerous fields I had no luck, but a female Hen Harrier (140) flying low over Sancreed Beacon was an unexpected bonus!
There were surprisingly few birds on the Estuary but a female Blackcap (141) on the feeders at Lelant Old station was an overdue addition. I then made what turned out to be a very good decision! I decided to drive through Hayle instead of going home via the A30 in order to have a quick look on Copperhouse Creek. And found a superb first-winter Iceland Gull (142). A patch tick and a year tick! There have been very few reports of Iceland Gull so far this year in Cornwall despite relatively good number of Glaucous Gull.
The 4th saw another attempt at the Ring-billed Gull. Still no luck in the fields around Sancreed so I thought I’d drop in to Drift Reservoir to9 look for the Mandarin. Again, no luck with that, but lo and behold, a first-winter Ring-billed Gull (143) with the gull flock out on the water! There was also a good count of 17 Med Gulls with the 200 or so Black-headed Gulls on the reservoir. With a change of fortune I thought I’d then risk another look for another bird that had so far eluded me this year. 20 Minutes later I found myself at Penzance bus station looking across the calm waters of Mounts Bay. After very nearly missing it again, I finally caught up with year tick number 144, a superb drake Eider. This bird has been in the bay for two consecutive winters now and often associates with a Great-black Backed Gull that it appears to have be-friended.