Showing commendable fieldcraft and livers of steel, Tropical, Er Neill and Bazzo have just survived a three day stint down in Cornwall...and have kindly decided to share their adventures on the blog.
Words by Bazzo, pix by Er Neill (although I think two are by Trops?)
Take it away boys...
"Just after dawn, Thursday 6 October, disused airfield at Davidstow in mid-Cornwall. Overcast sky, a vicious wind, no sign of the long-stay Semipalmated Sandpiper.
Three of the four companeros (Neill, Tropical, Bazzo) starting a three-day trip to the Duchy, and it's home-team 1, visitors 0.
Vast improvement a couple of hours later in sunny conditions at Marazion, where the most-approachable Pec Sandpiper in history sidled up and helped Neill to adjust his focus down to four feet before doing some more posing.
A hearty breakfast on Penzance Quay later we were off to Drift, where three Black Kites soared and sailed over the fields, much to our delight.
Then to Polgigga, where our search for two juv Dotterels was not helped by the fact that we were scanning the wrong field (like many others, it seems; very imprecise directions online).
An equally-duff hike over the moors at Porthgwarra failed to locate a Red-backed Shrike in a howling gale.
The same gale, however, produced a fine seawatch at Pendeen 1645-1815, highlights 25 Balearic, 3 Sooty and 500+ Manx Shearwaters, 3 Sabine's Gulls and 2 Pomarine Skuas. Thence, and thereafter, to a good night on the p*** at the excellent North Inn in Pendeen, where we definitely won the Pub Quiz but seem to have lost it, somehow?
Mind you, by then Rattler Cider and Guinness had taken its usual toll.
Back to Pendeen early next morning, much less lively seawatch though in just as fierce a wind; still, 2 close-in Sabine's gulls can't be sneered at.
After that, steadily downhill: a bossy but seedy-looking juv Rosy Starling on a feeder in St Just village, two hours gazing at wind-blown trees at Nanquidno for a Melodious Warbler that never showed, more fruitless Dotterel-time at Polgigga.
By the time we reached Porthgwarra we settled for a pasty and tea in the sunlit cafe garden, before some more fabulous Kite-time over Drift.
Finding accommodation on a fully-booked Friday night drew a blank in St Just, but we found a fine lodging in Penzance and then began the usual sorry story of excess from which I will spare you all.
Next morning we walked the Cot and Kenidjack valleys for four hours, with nothing to show for it except a single Chough high over the seaward end of Cot.
Heading eastward for home in thickening drizzle, Davidstow Airfield at last produced, with point-blank views of a roosting juv Long-billed Dowitcher and two delightful female Snow Buntings scampering about on the crumbling runway.
The day ended with a fairly daft search for a highly-mobile juv Pallid Harrier on the (very extensive) Mendip Hills in north Somerset in gathering dusk.
On these occasions nobody ever listens to the wise words from the back seat, of course. Then homeward in very good time.
Another triumph (?) for the Unacceptable Face of Birding."
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...