2 SHORT-TOED LARK at the airfield
The last hour and half of the day was pretty good! I arrived at the airfield and the first birds I see are the 3 splendid Golden Plover. At the turning circle there were 4 Whimbrel and 9 Wheatear. I started taking some shots of the plovers when I heard the SHORT-TOED LARK nearby! I had no idea where they were, but a good look around found them feeding on the old runway. Taking advantage of the long grass, I approached them on my belly, sliding along like a snake, or in my case, a slug. It didn't matter what I was, because after crawling through the grass, I was no less than three meters away from them! They had no idea I was there and I was now out of the long grass and out in the open. I could see that the sun was going down and I had to make a move before the ideal light disappeared. I videoed the larks and fired some record shots, as well as observing them through my bins. It seemed as though they were going to roost in this spot and somehow I had to scramble my way out, without disturbing them. There was only one thing to do and that was crawl backwards. After what seemed like a mile, I lifted myself up and made my way towards Porth Hellick.
The 3 Golden Plover were sharing the airfield with 9 Wheatear, 4 Whimbrel and the larks
The 2 SHORT-TOED LARK feeding together on the old runway. I was lying on my belly only a few meters away from them, when Smoothy decided to call me at the wrong time as you will hear at the end of the footage.
I arrived at the latter site after 21.00 and over the pool there were over 50 House Martin and 200 Swallow ready to go to roost. Then I heard a flava wagtail and from the seaward hide in front of me, was a female and a stunning male BLUE-HEAED WAGTAIL! They both fed on the mud for a few minutes, with a single Snipe, before flying off to bed in the reeds near to the Sussex hide. Also the Swallows had now built up to over 350 and with them I spotted a single Sand Martin. These also roosted in the reeds.
A pair of Blue-headed Wagtail and over 350 Swallow and 50 House Martin at Porth Hellick this evening
Thursday 12th May
Immature male GOLDEN ORIOLE at Salakee
Got on the airfield early this morning before the first flight came in. I walked all over the shop, but to my surprise, there was no sign of yesterdays 3 Short-toed Lark. All I could muster were, 3 Whimbrel and 9 Wheatear.
At Porth Hellick there was a 1st summer Black-headed Gull (different to the Bryher bird a few days) 30+Swallow, 10+House Martin and the Willow Warbler was singing at the crossroads. I started to walk the path up to Salakee when I heard a GOLDEN ORIOLE singing! It sounded as though it was coming from the Elms behind the farm. I was ready to race to the farm, then just above me, in the Elms, another GOLDEN ORIOLE started to sing. I started to record the song on the camcorder and at the same time you could hear the other oriole singing near the farm! I tried to look for the bird and with in a matter of seconds of looking up, I could see an immature male GOLDEN ORIOLE out in the open, up in the canopy singing! It showed very well and I fired some shots, before it flew off towards the loop trail. As I made my way towards the trail, cutting through the fields, It started to sing in the tall Elms next to Tremelethen Farm.
A recording of the immature male GOLDEN ORIOLE singing at Salakee Turn the volume right up
Mid day and I got a call from Big Al to say that Colin Sage had noted that the larks were back on the airfield! With in an hour I was at the turning circle with Conrad and Smoothy, but all we could make out, half way up on the edge of the runway in the heat haze, were 2 SHORT-TOED LARK! It was no good, the birds were distant and after quarter of an hour, we all moved on and found a very happy Johnny Bushell at Porth Hellick who had just seen the oriole in the tall Elms at Tremelethen Farm.
Later driving from the airport at the start of the slope, a Turtle Dove passed low overhead and seemed to come down at the back of Old Town Inn.
Just after 19.00 Robin, Martin and I, walked the airfield and after nearly thirty minutes, Martin located 2 SHORT-TOED LARK feeding on the old runway. Here they showed well, but soon moved on to the edge of the main runway towards the turning circle. By now we were joined by Mick and the finder of the larks, John Clark. We all watched the two birds for at least ten minutes before they were wee pushed off by a Wheatear and returned to where they were found the first time.
Also on the airfield were 2 Whimbrel, 13 Wheatear and 3 summer plumage Golden Plover came in. A Cuckoo could be heard over at Porth Minnick
The 2 SHORT-TOED LARK at the airfield were always distant Top shot Martin Goodey Bottom shots Robin Mawer
2 of the 3 Golden Plover at the airfield Martin Goodey
Saw my first 3 Common Blue of the year at the airfield