Friday, 16 January 2009

Cornish Snowy

Snowy Owl Zennor Cornwall

Another bird struck from the "want to see" list, and a damn fine one at that! Being an opportunity that was simply too good to miss, I made the journey down from Bedford train station Saturday morning, arriving at Carbis bay (just below St Ives) with enough light left for a look in the bay. As well as the usual mix of Shags, Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills, the bay also held 3 redhead Goosanders, an unexpected surprise, and the first time I have seen the species feeding on the sea, as oppose their usual freshwater haunts.

After missing the bird on Sunday (very windy) it was with great relief that I managed to locate it with relative ease the following day. After viewing from Sperris Quoit, for a couple of hours, I left the bird, and whent back along the road to view from the fence line (where the above photos were taken) that ran up the top of the hill, more or less opposite the Quoit.

The following day saw the bird at the very top of Trendrine Hill (opposite Sperris Quoit) with its head and body, just showing against the skyline. Allthough the views were relatively distant, there seemed little point in atempting to get any closer, given its position, just beyond the top of the ridge. Allthough people, stading near the top of the hill were very close, they were unable to see above the ridge that was in front of them, keeping the Owl hidden from view. Finally, after almost 3 hours of sitting (me not the Owl), it took flight and made its way accross the top of the hill before flying down the hillside, and landing in amongst the heather. Seing it perched , was one thing, but to see it in flight was something else (rather like watching a flying White tailed Eagle)..... it was HUGE.

Other highlights from around the area included three Purple Sandpipers, a very obliging Firecrest, and 4 Great Northern Divers at St Ives, plus a ringtail hen Harrier at Zennor, and a group of 3 Greenshank, at Lelant saltings (Not forgetting the 39 different Buzzards counted on the journey down!)

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