Vastly different weather conditions for two April field meetings …
The Lizard, April 13th
A mid- April walk around the Southerly Point area of the Lizard should have been something to savour but unfortunately a strong easterly wind made it both cold and hard work.
As a dozen or so hardy souls set off from Lizard Green it seemed only chirpy House Sparrows and the odd Starling were brave enough to be active in the chilly wind. Any Swallows were sensibly staying in shelter somewhere.
Things cheered up though when we dropped down into Caerthillian Valley where it was warm and the east wind was passing overhead. The air was filled with songs and calls of Blackcap, Wren and lots of immaculate male finches. Greenfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and the odd Bullfinch were all on show and certainly lifted the spirits on a windy, though sunny, day.
We headed down toward the sea and found a small group of Turnstones and a pair of Rock Pipits on the boulder-strewn shore. When we climbed up out of the cove again the wind really hit us and only Meadow and more Rock pipits were seen on the way to Southerly Point. That stretch is usually a nailed on certainty for Wheatear but they must have been sheltering as we didn’t see any.
With the sea so rough even the Gannets and Fulmars were getting battered and around at Housel we had little chance of picking out the Iceland Gull in the gale.
It was a wind-battered group that returned to Lizard Green. Sometimes the conditions are just too much for birding but it was an exhilarating morning in bright sunshine.
Respryn, Lanhydrock, April 20th
What a difference a week makes! Conditions were perfect for a riverside walk when we assembled in the Respryn car park. The air was full of the calls of Nuthatches and singing Blackcaps and the whole area was alive with birds.
Any walk along the wonderful Fowey here is likely to reward you with a Dipper and we saw the first of half a dozen sightings just a couple of hundred metres towards the station from the car park. A little further on we had a gorgeous male Siskin and after crossing the drive to Parkway station we saw Chiffchaff and a Garden Warbler by the pond. Just as on last year’s walk here we started seeing Marsh Tit around the area of the bridge though sadly no repeat of the redpoll some saw last year. All the usual woodland species were seen on the way back to the car park before we crossed over Respryn Bridge and walked the river bank as far as we could go. More Dippers and some beautiful Grey Wagtails carrying food for youngsters were seen and those members who had never been here before were in raptures over the beauty of this walk, which was very nice to hear.
We left about midday, which is when the dog walkers start to become a complete pain so we had the best of the day and lots of birds!
Roger Hooper, RSPB Cornwall Local Group
CBWPS File photos of Grey Wagtail and Dipper in Cornwall (Grey Wag – T Mills)