Sunday, 8 March 2020

Early year birding - gulls save the day!

As I draft this blog update a look through the window and it's an almost Spring like Sunday afternoon, a band of showers has moved through and the westerly wind drives the following clouds from which the sun peeks through. A good raptor spotting sky, not enough participants for raptor football but quality outweighed quantity as a local Red Kite patrolled the skies over suburban Hertfordshire. This weather is in contrast to that experienced throughout this early year winter period in which every weekend was, or seemed to have been, dominated by rain and wind. Far from ideal birding conditions and more importantly, upsetting for anyone affected by the floods.

Only a few visits to Rainham Marshes RSPB so far this year due in the main to the weather, but the reserve does look good with the permanent and seasonal pools full of water. However, the weather didn't allow for change in their occupancy. Winter duck remained and of the raptors Marsh Harriers and Buzzards showed well and I managed to connect with sightings of the occasional Peregrine or two. The presence of which was usually characterised with the Lapwings staying airborne a little longer than usual when spooked. The small wintering Avocet flock went AWOL or was I just unlucky? Curlews continued to fly onto the winter flash at high tide and a couple of Oystercatchers had returned to the Thames foreshore as the weeks moved on.

Nearby Wennington Marsh held lots of loafing gulls throughout, but I could not pick out any of the wintering Caspian Gulls. A rather smart adult Yellow-legged Gull could be seen here late February and in early March a 'meowing' adult Mediterranean Gull spent half hour alongside Black-headed Gulls. It showed a white colour ring on stepping out of the water, sadly too distant to read the code but this ring type possibly indicates Belgian origin. The nearby landfill holding the gulls attention throughout and early in the period saw a 1st winter Iceland Gull at 60x zoom from the Shooting Butts hide, not the most comfortable of viewing!

Another chance of looking for Caspian Gulls saw me at Erith Pier across the river from Rainham, Sunday 01 March. Lots of adult Black-headed Gulls and immature Herring Gulls with all 5 of the standard UK gulls present. Out of nowhere a scan on the shoreline north of the pier and this stunning 1st winter Caspian Gull shown below was present. It moved onto the jetty to the west but had moved on by the time I walked round for closer views. Nevertheless the initial sighting on the shore and then about 10 minutes swimming near the pier allowed for a few nice photos and video footage. The elegant structure and features characteristic of this taxon seen in the field are reflected in the footage. En route, a couple of Peregrines along the Thames in central London, one spending time hunting from the Tate Modern, many visitors to the South Bank oblivious to the presence of this iconic raptor.

Elsewhere, a short visit back home was cut short by Storm Ciara. Birding on the South Yorkshire Moors on the Saturday before the wind grew too strong saw Ravens tumbling, a few Kestrels airborne and Buzzards likewise as the air warmed up relatively speaking. A Red Kite was 'inland' of the moorland edge. Continuing the gull theme above and a much sought after 'Wath Area' tick in the South Yorkshire lowlands came in the form of Caspian Gull, 2 birds - an adult and sub-adult (3rd winter?) on the grassy bank separating the Wader Scrape and Mere. Nice views from a windy Warbler Way as Ciara started to wind up.

'Wath Area' List now at 196 - plus Mandarin Duck September 2019, were the group of 4 on the Willow Pool tickable?

Monday, 13 January 2020

Christmas 2019 Birding - a lot of twitching

Speyside and Glenshee
First time birding the ancient woodlands and lochs of Speyside that form the north-west border of the Cairngorms, and it didn't disappoint. Essentially a 3 day twitch of Capercaillie, Scottish Crossbill, Ptarmigan and Crested Tit.

First up the Capercaillie silent in the pines, indeed most locales were deadly silent, and a chance encounter after a couple of hours traipsing the forest tracks in when the umpteenth dark shadow finally turned out not to be another tree stump. I was lucky to share the spectacle with a couple of local walkers. After a couple of minutes it melted away into the primeval forest.

Scottish Crossbill, well this one is tricky. Walking down a track a few miles to the south of Loch an Eilein a "Crossbill" flew over, calling. This was an unfamiliar call. I have fair experience of Common Crossbill calls over the years and the Parrot Crossbills different "jeep" calls in irruption years. It may be cliché but it was intermediate of the two, still drawn out like the Parrot Crossbill call but with perhaps a third syllable giving it a distinctive sound. It perched up, a female, allowing scope views. The bill was deep based reasonably big with a Parrot like curve to the upper mandible and both mandibles crossed. The head appeared big but not flat crowned or bull-necked of Parrot Crossbill. It joined 3 others but I could not get a good look at those and soon they were off. I hear that the Crossbill situation in this area is, to put it politely, "complex". In the absence of DNA and/or sonograms I guess claiming to species type is down to the conscience of the head scratching observer. Makes silent Empidonax Flycatcher id look easy!

Whilst Crested Tits melt into the pines in the summer months they were reasonably showy in late December. Not as numerous as Coal Tits with which most associated and were quickly picked up on their trill call, a sound I've heard previously in Sweden, France and Germany. Difficult to photograph as they were constantly on the move. Seen at several sites from near Loch Insh all the way up to Loch Garten.

Ptarmigan. On the way up a look from the ski lift car park at Glenshee, south of Braemar, produced only Red Grouse, Red Deer and Mountain Hare whilst a Buzzard flew across the valley. No sign of the master of disguise, Ptarmigan. Where they absent, not enough snow to force them down from the mountain tops? A return visit was pencilled in on the way home, but with weather forecast to close in here on the Monday I made back for this site Sunday afternoon. This was a 2 hours drive from Speyside firstly heading east from Pitlochry, with Red Kite and Red Squirrel (GB tick) seen from the car a few miles before heading north towards Glenshee. Back at the ski lift car park The Cairnwell was cloaked in cloud, but it cleared on occasions has the clouds moved east to reveal its peak. One such clearance saw walkers coming down the mountain side. I scoped a couple of Red Grouse in their path a few 100 feet below, they were ready to take flight. Just up from them another "Mountain Hare" appeared to be on top of a snow covered crag? On zooming in this was no hare. It had no ears and was pure white, turned out to be cracking views of Ptarmigan. As the walkers descended 4 other Ptarmigan appeared from out of the snow walking with ease on this terrain in their snow boots. They then took flight before coming to ground by the boulders shown in the following photo. Can just about make two of them out, honest!

Other birds of note in Speyside/Cairngorms included 4 fly by Snow Buntings just beyond the Cairngorm car park with about a dozen distant in flight about the lower slopes of The Cairnwell, Glenshee. Carrion Crows were widespread and Ravens plentiful on the approach to Glenshee ski lift, with flyovers along the A9 in Speyside. The woods were deadly silent unless a Title flock came by. A Golden Eagle was a welcome sighting hunting a Cairngorm mountain side.

The North East
On the way up to Speyside I stopped off at Prestwick Carr near Newcastle airport where the 1st winter Eastern Yellow Wagtail showed well, yet silent, mid morning on Friday 20 December. Another chance on the way back a week or so later after twitching the Goswick Black Scoter saw the rare visitor more distant feeding around a group of horses. However, it called several times giving a distinctive "wizzit" call. On the first visit it didn't look monochrome in the field, but did so in the video and photos. The light on the return visit made it look particularly monochrome in the afternoon.

Of the Black Scoter it showed fairly well from the dunes bordering the Goswick golf course but at mid distance in a flock of several hundred Common Scoters. This was at lunchtime on Saturday 28 December. Clear enough to see the distinctive orange blob on the bill and bill shape as well as the box like shape of the head. Such subtle differences between it and drake Common Scoters could be noted as it moved through the Common Scoter flock. A Velvet Scoter's presence was betrayed by its white wing panels when the flock took flight and in the area were double figures of Red-throated Divers, Long-tailed Ducks and Red-breasted Mergansers. Moving south were a couple of small skeins of Pink-footed Geese overhead in off, and 10 or so pale-bellied Brent Geese skimming the sea heading towards Lindisfarne. Cracking scenery and with the atmospheric low winter light against pale grey skies.

East Anglia
The amazing run of Eastern Yellow Wagtails in GB and elsewhere in western Europe continued with the striking male frequenting a dung heap by the minor road leading north of Sedgeford, Norfolk. It showed well mid afternoon on Monday 30 December and, to my ears, gave the same "wizzit" call as the Northumberland bird when it was spooked by a Pied Wagtail. Skeins of Pink-footed Geese overhead typical of winter birding in north Norfolk, and driving up to Wells-next-the-Sea saw Marsh Harrier, Red Kite and Barn Owl in flight. The Rough-legged Buzzard was seen briefly over the pines heading to roost just before 4pm, and on driving towards and past Fakenham 3 different Woodcocks took their dusk flight.

Earlier in the day the Eastern Stonechat took a bit of finding at RSPB Hollesley Marshes where a "yapping" flock of about 25 White-fronted Geese were over the flash. The Stonechat was a cold looking bird, let's see what the DNA says over its identity (...apparently not conclusive at the time of writing).

The North
Back home and the South Yorkshire Moors were as stunning as ever, but quiet. Common Buzzards present, one buzzed by a Peregrine, and Ravens started to 'tumble'. Up to 6 Common Crossbills were present at one site and a bit of movement of Lapwings and Golden Plovers noted over the tops. Fieldfares and Redwings moved along the moorland edge where a Mistle Thrush started its haunting song.

Whilst the upland Moors were without a wintering Rough-legged Buzzard, the juvenile frequenting farmland in South Yorkshire west of the M18/M180 junction showed nicely. The grey skies and distance on the two visits were not brilliant for photography. Not a million miles away a ringtail Hen Harrier ghosted over birch covered scrubland and quickly out of sight. Several hundred Pink-footed Geese rested on farmland by the South Yorkshire / Lincolnshire border.

Eastern Stonechat on Boxing Day at Ashton's Flash, Northwich, Cheshire in the rain showed eventually. One more for the DNA experts. A Cetti's Warbler scolded and a male Peregrine flew over as the front edged its way through.

For more photos from this period please click on the 'Latest UK Bird Photos' tab at the top of the page.

For a birding video compilation of this period upload to my YouTube channel, please click here.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Caspian Gull, Snaresbrook, London, December 2019

Best raptor species in the world? It's a tie between (Western) Osprey and (Northern) Goshawk.

Best gull species in the world? It's also a tie, this time between Sabine's Gull and Caspian Gull.

Why Sabine's Gull?

No reply necessary, just have a look at that plumage?

Ok, they look more stunning in real life than a scanned grainy image of a photo, the olde worlde equivalent of today's boc photo!  - Farmoor Res, Oxon Aug 2001.

Why Caspian Gull?

No longer a mythical species, but they can be tricky to pick out of a gathering of gulls no matter how experienced the birder. 

  • Firstly, is the gull you're looking at a Caspian Gull, or do you just want it to be a Caspian Gull? We've all made that judgement call.
  • Then when we think you've nailed it, is the individual a pure Caspian Gull, or with Herring Gull genes? A colour-ring on its leg from the continent may help with such head-scratching (the birder that is) individuals.
  • Can they vary in appearance like the Herring Gull complex. Some may say they are just another member of the Herring Gull complex.
  • Some birders say they are easier to identify in immature plumage, is that really true?
  • One question we can all agree on the answer to is, are we still learning? Always!
I've mentioned previously that because I seldom see this species, every encounter is like seeing this taxon for the first time. This understanding can be helped by having the chance to see and study returning individuals, just like the Eagle Pond, Snaresbrook, London bird, now in adult plumage. The photos below are of it on 01 December 2019 a week or so after it returned to this urban pond.

It was tolerant of the Black-headed Gulls but not too friendly towards Herring Gulls. It chased a similarly aged Herring Gull around in flight over the pond, when they both banked you could see the subtle difference in the shade of grey of the upperwing. The Caspian Gull being a shade darker than Herring Gull, though not as dark grey/blue toned of a Yellow-legged Gull.

More photos of the Caspian Gull at 'Latest UK Bird Photos'

Video footage of this gull from 01 December 2019 uploaded at my 'YouTube Channel -2019 Playlist'

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Birding Blog Update Oct/Nov - or a wintering Finsch, wandering Pink-feet and waders in for the winter

Rainham Marshes RSPB, London - November 2019
Early to mid November and much needed water on the reserve making the site a haven for wintering duck. Whistling Wigeon, calling Teal and the quiet Pintail present for the season. Buzzards are now to be expected and Marsh Harriers spook the duck and Lapwings. Of the waders in the area about 700 Dunlin to be found on the Thames shore, their presence a bit erratic due to a wealth of feeding opportunity along the river and the state of the tide. Up to 500 Black-tailed Godwits find the reserve's Target and Aveley Pools sanctuary at high tide with Curlew present, several commuting between the Thames shore and the winter flash. A flock of about 30 Avocets could be in for the winter. A lone (the same?) Brent Goose seen on a couple of visits, they always give the impression of not sure what to do next once having flown around Aveley Bay. Passerines on site include wintering Stonechat and a cracking Firecrest on the woodland edge mid month. Barn Owl hunting the marsh late afternoon mid month.

Barnsley Moors - October 2019
Despite the rain and generally leaden skies a couple of visits saw Buzzards airborne and Sparrowhawks and Kestrel hunting the moorland edge. No obvious Crossbills as present earlier in the year, no doubt they will be wandering around the woodlands that cloak the reservoirs on the South Yorkshire moorland edge. A few Bramblings noted at a couple of sites, could it be a Brambling winter, or will they move through? Characteristic of this area are groups of Fieldfare looking for food. Nice views of one flock of about 500 Fieldfares that hosted several Redwings. One morning, and before the fog rolled in, turning into low cloud cover, 3 skeins of Pink-footed Geese (170 + 150 + 95) flew quickly east over a moorland valley.

Still hoping for a 'Rough-legged' winter!

Cyprus - October 2019
A visit in mid October produced a nice variety of species. It was hot throughout but the afternoon breeze made birding comfortable. Raptors were a highlight, aren't they always! Young Eleonora's Falcons tussled with each other along the cliffs northeast of Akrotiri and nearby down on the peninsula Red-footed Falcons and Hobbies hawked insects over Akrotiri Marsh (Phassouri Reedbeds). In the north west the dry landscape about Evretou Dam saw 2 Goshawks move through, the local Long-legged Buzzards, keeping a close eye on them. Likewise a flock of terrified Woodpigeons. Greater Sandpipers had returned to Paphos Headland for the winter and the first returning Finsch's Wheatear played hide and seek at Anarita Park. Out east Oroklini Marsh glowed in the early evening light home to a roost of Cattle Egrets, Greater Flamingoes and hundreds of White Wagtails with a very good supporting cast including Spoonbills, Ferruginous Duck and Water Rail amongst others.

A full trip report can be found by clicking here.

Finsch's Wheatear - Anarita Park, Cyprus, October 2019

Brief video footage of this very smart wintering Wheatear up at Anarita Park in the hills to the north east of Paphos. A known wintering site. 

Please click here to view the YouTube clip.

Greater Sandplover - Paphos Headland, Cyprus, October 2019

Video footage of one of 2 birds present at the tip of the headland, footage taken during a very welcome rain shower.

Please click here to view the YouTube clip

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Humpback Whale at Rainham Marshes RSPB

Who says looking at gulls is boring? On Saturday 05 October 2019 just before opening time from the river wall outside Rainham Marshes RSPB, London a scan across the far shore of the Thames saw several Yellow-legged Gulls on the mud amongst the commoner large gull species. Our view of the Larids was quickly interrupted as RB spotted a large mammal surfacing briefly. Was it Bob a local bull Grey Seal?

It surfaced again. It was long, dark and the body looked almost scaly in appearance or like it had a "tyre tread" texture. Almost like the tyre tread of say a dump/tipper truck. You can just about see this serrated edge in the first photo below. Within this view it then raised its tail flukes before diving, revealing splattered white undersides to the otherwise dark-edged flukes. It lowered the flukes at the same time as the lower body. A Whale sp.

It slowly headed down river being lost to view on the last submerge west of the Dartford crossing. We tried to get the message out asap for all to witness such a remarkable sight, including experts who could then pick up on the news to monitor its health.

Here are some photos of the Whale. I believe the third shows its tail-stock.

What about the birding?

A lot of movement just before opening time, again from the river wall. Bearded Tits on the move, a group of 6 looked like they could have got up from the southern end of the reserve and they left high, calling as they headed N/NE up the Mardyke. Meadow Pipits trickling through and a few Chaffinches over, House Martins noted moving high and a few Swallows as well. Aveley Bay held double figures of Avocets a lone Black-tailed Godwit and Ruff with Teal numbers on the increase. In a warm spell during the afternoon up to 4 Buzzards were in the sky over the reserve with at least 2 others moving through, and a couple of Sparrowhawks kept an eye on the Buteos. Almost forgot, around 10 Yellow-legged Gulls on the Thames shore and a Brent Goose did a u-turn over Aveley Bay and headed west mid morning.

Whale Update - Tue evening

On Sunday its identity was confirmed by observers along the Thames as a Humpback Whale and it's health was monitored since by interested expert parties. It was found to beach on Monday and sadly found dead off Greenhithe late on Tuesday. A very sad end to a beautiful creature.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The Rare Passerines to the, the Rare Waders to the left...five. The Rare Waders have it, the Rare Waders have it!

Wednesday 18 September 2019 and the Long-billed Dowitcher was showing well on The Moat at Fairburn Ings RSPB, West Yorkshire. Difficult light conditions to photograph and video this rarity from North America. A Cetti's Warbler called and a Marsh Harrier circled a nearby Flash. Back home on the South Yorkshire moorlands a skein of about 70 early Pink-footed Geese flew east late afternoon.

Thursday 19 September 2019 and up on the South Yorkshire moorlands Meadow Pipits were moving west throughout the day, a small trickle, and possibly a few Buzzards over as well were not local. A family party of Stonechats were nice to see as was a Wheatear.

Friday 20 September 2019 and a twitch out west. First up the 2 moulting American Golden Plovers on a pool at Lunt Meadows to the east of Liverpool. They showed well despite being chased around the scrape by Lapwings. A Common Sandpiper and Ruff noted with several Buzzards in the area. A nice surprise was a calling Raven flying over.

Up the road near Southport a Red-necked Phalarope was spinning away in between roosting Black-tailed Godwits as viewed from Nel's hide at Marshside RSPB. Whilst feeding it was trying to avoid a Black-headed Gull determined to chase it around the pool. All of this to a cacophony of returning Pink-footed Geese, and perhaps the surreal sight of about a dozen Cattle Egrets walking amongst the resting 'Pink-feet'.

Blackpool Tower, a year tick, could be seen in the distance, and I was soon heading that way where on the outskirts of the seaside resort a Pectoral Sandpiper, presumably of Nearctic origin, was to be found feeding on the edge of the small flood by the car park at Blackpool Wake Park. It was spooked on one occasion flying around the site giving a distinct 'preet' call, before settling back down. Of note were 2 more Ravens that flew from a nearby building.

Saturday 21 September 2019 and birding out east at Spurn, East Yorkshire where a Red-breasted Flycatcher showed nicely in the trees at the back of the Crown and Anchor car park, Kilnsea. Not much else in the way if scarce or rare migrants. Saw several Stonechats in the nearby Triangle where a Yellow Wagtail flew south. Double figures of Mediterranean Gulls (equal spread of 1st winters, 2nd winters and adult winters), joined Black-headed Gulls following the plough in fields behind the South Bird Observatory building. A variety of waders present on the quickly receding tide at the Humber shore. Migrant Hawker dragonflies showed well as did a single Wall Brown butterfly on the riverside path in the Kilnsea Triangle.

Sunday 22 September 2019 and a quick look on the moorlands produced a variety of birds ahead of a front slowly encroaching from the south west despite showery, muggy and misty conditions. Jays were obvious this early in the autumn, perhaps indicating an irruption year from the continent this autumn? A twitch to Old Moor RSPB for a local patch tick in the form of 4 Mandarin Ducks at the Willow Pool.

More photos at Latest UK Bird Photos.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

BB Rarity

Quite a rare one at that, the Kynance Cove Brown Booby.

Here's my two penn'orth on Saturday pm sightings of the Brown Booby. It should actually be my £7.40 worth as it includes a tale of a bacon baguette, a mug of tea and indigestion.

Firstly, on site from before 6.30 am scanning the rocky outcrops and, unbeknown to most if not all on site, the assembled 30+ carloads of birders were not far enough to the west to be able to look back at the 'Booby's' roost site. No sign first thing of the rarity from the slope above the cafe. Loads of Manx Shearwaters moving by in search of feeding grounds out in the bay were nice to see. I picked out a Balearic Shearwater lazily flying by early morning, and throughout the day it would be possible to pick up a, or the same or a couple of Sooty Shearwaters amongst a pack of Manxies. I noted an Arctic Skua and a Bonxie early morning with one of the latter seen briefly mid afternoon. Back on land a couple of Peregrine sightings and a Buzzard flew by, but they could not compete for the wow factor won by the group of 7 Choughs that showed on and off as the morning warmed up. They were perhaps puzzled to see humans with tripods scattered across their perfect grass covered hillside. Viz-mig saw hirundines moving along the coast, mainly Swallows and House Martins with a single Sand Martin picked out. Grey Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and a few calling Tree Pipits added to the migration with a few Wheatears around and local Rock Pipits were easy to see.

The 2 pm sighting

Mid afternoon and will the rarity show? Time for lunch at the cafe in the Cove and as I was ordering the bacon baguette and mug of tea just around 2 pm I noticed folk 'high-fiving' outside the far window. As the scene outside the cafe was predominantly tourists with a few birders, and not knowing the people concerned, I thought it was simply friends greeting each other. Placed the order and went outside and a birder was beaming and explaining to a tourist of the Brown Booby, one of many such instances throughout the day. He saw me and asked if I had seen the Brown Booby, they had just had it fly in the bay at the south end of Kynance Cove but it was currently lost to view. A little confused, this soon turned to excitement of the sighting and I joined the 3 celebrating birders at the side of the cafe scoping without success to relocate the rare Sulid. I gently grilled the sighting, let's be honest don't we all on a bird of interest, and was impressed with the details. I believe they had alerted birders on the grassy bank near the cafe, at least one from the bank (or cafe?) got onto the Brown Booby. Patiently waited for the bird to show without luck, with only a bit of bacon butty indigestion to note. Therefore, time for a different approach, I joined the birders on the grassy bank north of the cafe scoping the far bay and it's headland to have a wider view looking back into the far bay as well.

The 4 pm sighting

Still focussed on the far headland I was lucky to be a couple of feet away from a birder who noted a dark 'Gannet' about the headland, mentioning that to the assembled mass.

I quickly got onto the bird as it moved right over the rocky outcrop leading away from the edge of the headland into the bay. Instead of continuing out to sea it then flew back left and towards us flying this way for quite a few seconds before turning away only to then to go behind the headland. It soon appeared again and did the same flight out and then back behind the headland. As the second pass was being made a shout of 'BOOBY!!!' broke the air from birders at the cafe, the guys who had the 2 pm sighting, one of them popped up and we exchanged gen. Basically, they had independently seen the same bird fly back and forth, the immature Brown Booby.

Over the period of its passes by I noted the following on scoping the bird at zoom, and present the details "without prejudice":

  • Flying over the rocks. Hooded appearance same tone as upper-wing contrasting with pale under-parts. This piqued my interest.

  • Turning to fly away. The upper-parts were brown, clear and distinct at range. The brown was vivid against a deep blue sky and this feature got me zooming in!

  • Banking to turn towards us. Shockingly white belly seen in perfect light conditions, contrasting with dark neck/breast. White on the belly extending beyond the axillaries onto the under-wing. Another key feature was the dark brown lining to both the leading and trailing edge which was very noticeable towards the join with the body. This colouration and pattern coupled with the brown upper-parts gave it a "Cory's" look. 

  • Flying towards us. Could briefly see a pale area to the gular patch / lower mandible area contrasting with the brown head and demarcated from a brown neck/breast band, the top of which seemed to look darker than the lower area of the band.

  • Flying towards us. Coming towards us at an angle the bill dominated the head, appearing to be a continuation of the head (cue comparisons with Whooper Swan and Caspian Gull) and put simply, looked like a cornet stuck on it! The bill was paler than the brown hood in neutral light. Moreover, whenever it turned its head and the sun caught the bill it glowed pale, a feature especially striking all the way along the top of the bill, and this 'highlighting' appeared to emphasise the magnitude of the bill.

  • Flight - not prolonged views to comment much on this, but it wasn't afraid of making a quick to change its path which helped to pick up the different features mentioned above.

In response to comment either heard in the field or seen on twitter:

Expected much celebration about the sightings - if you were down at the cafe at 2 pm, bacon butty ordering withstanding, you would have seen the joy of the finders. Have a look on twitter as the spotters describe the moment. A birder behind me at the 4 pm sighting proclaimed, 'That's a Brown Booby, I've seen zillions of Gannets, that's not a Gannet!'

No news put out - folk attempted but the signal was dreadful by the cafe and nearby. No suppression, nearby parties informed. This time of day saw birders scattered into loose groups covering vantage points up and down the Cove.

Whilst I always welcome debate, and folk have a right to offer opinion, words fail me when correspondents perhaps hundreds of miles away proclaim negative news acting as Judge, Jury and Executioner.

Late on, word was that it was seen from the headland of interest, in the bay to the south of Kynance Cove at 6.36 pm, i.e. the headland to which it appeared from mid-afternoon. Sorry, I don't know anymore details.

It was a day of being in the right place at the right time and importantly to seize the moment. Congratulations to the finders at the cafe, much respect! I was slightly gutted at 2 pm, but lucky at 4 pm.