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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Gwithian - on 13th March, 2016

I've been away from Bloggerland for well over two weeks now, primarily due to a visit to the Isles of Scilly. I returned on Tuesday afternoon (22nd), but was out for much of Wednesday at our daughter's house, where our granddaughter had beautifully prepared a party in honour of their cats' birthdays. On Thursday I was on Osprey duty at Rutland Water, so the first time my feet touched the ground was yesterday. I find that I took just over four thousand photos whilst away, so I've got a bit of work to do, sorting those out!

I came back from the Scillies, thinking that the birds might have deserted our garden during our absence. Nothing could be further from the truth! We returned to find that, extremely unusually, the most numerous bird in the garden was Siskin, followed by Redpoll! Numbers have steadily increased since our return and today the Redpoll firmly overtook the Siskin in numbers. Today we peaked in the early afternoon at 25 Redpoll and 13 Siskin - a truly amazing sight in a small garden, and those were just the ones we could count! This, of course, has added to the distractions which are conspiring to keep me away from photo processing and returning to Bloggerland.

To get the ball rolling again, I'm putting up a small post which covers the first day of the Scillies trip. 

Our sailing for the Scillies required us to check in at the car park near Penzance by 07h45 on Monday 14th March. The sensible option was, therefore, to travel down on the Sunday and stay nearby. The Travelodge at Hayle suited our purposes admirably, and offered accommodation at a bargain price (£28.00 for the room!).

Lindsay, my wonderful wife, is passionate about coasts and so, having checked in, we set off for the nearest bit of coast, which happens to be at Gwithian - probably only 3 miles (5 km) away. As we approached the coast, I commented to Lindsay that this looked like Stonechat country - and about 5 seconds later we saw one!

We arrived at  the car park, which was full of surfers getting ready to hit the waves, one of whom kindly tipped me off that the car park was free for the next two days. We then set off for the beach. The view as we approached was delightful.

Godrevy Light - from Gwithian
At the bottom of the steps to the beach I was impressed by the wonderful colours and contours in the rocks.

Rock on Gwithian Beach
Not being a beach lover myself, I left Lindsay sitting on a rock whilst I went to explore the sand dunes behind the beach, drawn by a map near the car park which showed inland water and a nature reserve. On the way I took a shot of a Stonechat.

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) (female) - Gwithian
I soon realised that the nature reserve was further away than originally envisaged, and that I'd be in trouble if I left Lindsay for that long - besides, it would be dark in less than an hour!

I did spot a distant bird wading in a shallow bit of water, which I'm relatively sure was a Rock Pipit, although this was not the sort of environment I've seen these in in the past. I did do slightly better, however, with a Skylark that I saw come in to land.


Skylark (Alauda arvensis) - Gwithian
It was time to rejoin Lindsay, and head back to the car as the light was failing fast. I purposely chose a path through the dunes, and managed to connect with Stonechats again. Lindsay patiently sat on a dune whilst I took photos.

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) (male) - Gwithian

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) (female) - Gwithian

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) (male) - Gwithian
Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) (female) - Gwithian
Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) (male) - Gwithian
As we neared the car park, there were a few corvids around. I'm not used to seeing Rooks with dark bills, but by the shape of the bird's head and its bill, I think that this was what this bird was - an immature? Please tell me if I'm wrong!

Rook (Corvus frugilegus) (immature?) - Gwithian
After this we went back to our hotel before heading over to dinner in the nearby Brewer's Fayre. It was then an early night for both of us.

Hopefully, I'll find time in the next day or two to visit the blogs of my friends in Bloggerland. Thank you for dropping by.

37 comments:

  1. that first shots is beautiful and like a painting. The photographs of the Stomechats are stunning. A lovely little bird and one that usualy sits and poses or us. HAPPY EASTER.

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    1. Thank you, Margaret. I'm particularly fond of Stonechats!

      A very happy Easter to you too! - - - Richard

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  2. Richard the quality of your photos have always been good but I think you have improved dramatically recently. These are perfect photos and I like that the birds are so clear. Well done. Looking forward to seeing your next set of photos. Happy Easter Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane. The new camera that I had just before Christmas is largely responsible for any improvement in my photos. I'm starting to get the hang of it now, but I've still a lot to learn!

      Have a great Easter - - - - Richard

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  3. As you would expect from me Richard, I'm dwelling on your Stonechat images. Excellent, and the one I regard the best I 'nicked' confident in the feeling you won't mind the steal.

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    1. Thank you, Pete. I always think of you when I see a Stonechat! They're one of my favourites too.

      Always happy for you to use my images.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  4. Hi Richard, as you told me whilst we were on duty at Rutland, your visit to the beach was most certainly worthwhile, some super images of the Stonechat, brilliant. John

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  5. I'm looking forward to more from the Isles of Scilly.
    I enjoyed the Pipet not sure which it is but it's grand.
    No Siskin up here I think they must have fled south.

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    1. The next post will probably be about the Scillies, Adrian.

      That image is not of the Pipit (the shots I did take weren't good enough to publish) but of a Skylark.

      I reckon I've still got all your Siskins down in my garden!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  6. It's great when small gardens fill up with birds my Siskin's are still here yet no Redpoll maybe next year.
    I'm glad the Ospreys are returning safely from their wintering grounds hopefully a productive year ahead.
    I love Stonechats it seems you found a lovely spot for them too, the Skylark is one I struggle to get close enough for a decent image, you say it landed did it come in off the sea ie a migrating bird?

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    1. We've been lucky with the Redpolls, Doug. They've been with us for most of the winter, but the Siskins only really started showing recently with any regularity.

      I'm very fond of Stonechats - we had a relatively confiding female outside the property the whole time we were in the Scillies, and this bird will probably appear in my next post - might even do a post just on that one bird?

      I suspect that the Skylark was resident - it just dropped out of the sky like Skylarks do!!

      Best wishes - - - - Richard

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  7. Wow,perfect images Richard,when I saw your post,I had to look twice,Gwithian and Gothian Sands are a fantastic place for Birding,I never know what might drop in,like the wondering Pegler,I also notice how excellent your Photography is,stunning sharp detail,with every image.
    I also changed my Camera and lens,I now have a New Nikon D5300 and Nikon 200-500 Lens,very pleased with the results,can't wait to see your Scilly Post.
    John.

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    1. I was quite impressed by Gwithian in the short time that I was there, John. I'll certainly be wanting to spend more time there next time I'm down that way.

      Your new camera/lens combination seems to be working a treat for you, John, although the skill of the user is a major factor - your work is streets ahead of mine!

      Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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  8. Excellent images, I love the Skylark, it is a dream.

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    1. Thank you, Bob. They're not the easiest of birds to get photos of!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  9. Hello John,
    I see you published this post on the 13th of march..;
    WOW, It tells me I haven't been blogging much these last days, but I am quite busy with the property probably sold (I should know for sure this week) and the intense cleaning up; Patrick kept absolutely everything....

    How can people go surfing in such cold water, even with a diving suit?!!
    Wonderful photos, I enjoy the rock formation, it always fascinates me.
    I'd love to see Redpolls, the closest I ever saw was linets.
    I believe your Rook to be a Carrion crow - Corvus corone - with its black beak. That of the rook is much lighter but I could be wrong...

    Huge hugs to share with Lindsay :)

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    1. So who's this John fellah then, Noushka???? ;-}

      I guess your head was elsewhere (LOL) as this post was published on 26th March (not 13th), although it relates to 13th March! I'm not surprised at your distraction, however, as it seems you are very busy - I wish you the best of luck with property.

      I must admit that I was surprised by all the people surfing when the air temeperature was around 7deg C!

      I think that the jury is still out on that corvid. The Collins guide says that, until Feb-May of their 2nd calendar year, immature Rooks look very like Carrion Crows, with the bill shape, and call being the main differences. They don't develop the grey bill and bare patch round the bill base until then. The bill shape of my bird looks very like a Rook.

      With our love - - - Richard and Lindsay

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    2. Haha!
      I guess you are right about my distraction...
      and my priorities now are indeed to sell this place and although it looks good, the buyer and myself are still waiting for his bank's green light...
      I am mentally very tired and would appreciate a few day's holiday but I can't afford to get away just now.
      Warm hugs to share with Miriam :)

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    3. Oh gee!!!
      I just realised I called John!!
      Well I guess I had just left a comment on your pal's blog! LOL!!!!!!!
      SORRY!!!!!

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    4. This one could run forever! Miriam lives with David in Canada - I'd need longer arms to give her that hug, and I'm not sure what David's reaction would be!!!

      Good luck with the sale, and try and get that holiday - sounds like you need it!!!

      I'm sending you a bucket of iced water to cool off your head! Much love - Richard

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  10. Hello Richard, that sounds like a wonderful place you vissited and the first photos are very promissing for what is to come. 1000 pictures wow.
    Thank you for finding the time to react on my blog with the Cranes. Soon more to follow of other pictures I took.
    Regards,
    Roos

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    1. Thank you, Roos. It was a great place to visit - and it was 4,000 photos, not 1,000! I'm still not half-way through them yet!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  11. All good stuff Richard, nice one!

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  12. Sounds like Star Wars!!!! The Isles of Scilly!!! Sounds like a really fun time. I like those kinds of adventures the best. Hope all is well with you....Stonechat, Skylark....all fantasy birds that I've never seen before:)

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    1. It's a great archipelago to visit, Chris. Some of the islands, including St.Mary's which is the one we were staying on, have some wonderful rock formations.

      I guess you might get to see those birds one day - when you've finished the Americas, you'll be spreading your wings and taking off for the old world!

      Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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  13. Great start to your vacation, Richard. I just returned from Cuba about five hours ago. When we left the temperature was around 30 degrees. Right now it's 5 degrees here with the wind blowing the rain horizontally! Think I'll go right back!

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    1. Are you still there, David, or did you follow your instincts and head back to Cuba?

      That's a really cruel change of weather!!

      Hoping to catch up with your blog very soon.

      Love to you both - - - Richard

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  14. Lovely pictures Richard, I love the Stonechats, they are now appearing at Morden Bog for the summer.

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    1. I'm very fond of Stonechats, too, Linda. I fell in love with one particular bird - there was a very plucky female Stonechat with a badly damaged left foot that was living on the beach where we were staying on the Scillies. She'll be featuring in my next post, I suspect!

      Morden bog sounds like a place I should visit in the not too distant future! I'll perhaps try and get there when the dragons are around.

      Thanks and best wishes - - - Richard

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  15. Wow .... beautiful pictures of these birds.
    Nice sitting pretty and beautiful soft background.
    Class!
    Greetings,
    Helma

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Helma!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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I'm pleased to report that the anonymous spam problem seems to be solvable without using word verification. I'm now just using the 'Registered Users - includes OpenID' option in Blogger settings, and I'm not getting any spam - touch wood! I've also not received any contact from people saying that they are no longer able to make comments.