Last Tuesday I went birding with Jayne, and we visited a few places along the way to Falmouth. First stop was the boating lake at Helston, where we were led to believe we'd find an Iceland Gull, as well as a long-staying Whooper Swan.
We decided to go over the road to the local sewage works, where Jayne had found a probable Siberian Chiffchaff the week before. There were a few Chiffchaffs in the scrub around the aromatic main workings of the place but no obviously Sibe-esque ones. Then I got onto a smaller bird which I saw was a 'crest - and to our joy it proved to be a Firecrest.
On to Swanpool, a small nature reserve set around a walk-round-able lake, just on the edge of Falmouth. Here there was a Long-tailed Duck, and a first-winter Ring-billed Gull, both long-stayers. We located the former straight away from a scan across the water - it was out in the middle. I took a couple of record shots but felt confident that we'd have better views from further around.
At the bottom end of the lake, we found the Ring-billed Gull, exactly where Jayne said it would be. It was close to the shore, and rushed over for point-blank views when the bag of duck food appeared. It was a delightful bird, a stereotypically brash American that shouted loudly for attention and jumped on all other gulls that went anywhere near it.
Oddly, the Long-tailed Duck now had gone AWOL, lengthy scans from all points of the lake on the rest of our walk failed to produce it. So the better pics I'd hoped for didn't happen. We did add Little Grebe to the day list on the walk back.
There then followed an interval of looking unsuccessfully for a Black Redstart on a random residential street in Falmouth, and a look at the very beautiful but birdless beach. I didn't bring the landscape lens on this occasion so you'll just have to take my word that it was a beautiful beach.
Then we went to Gulval, near Penzance, to see if we could find yet another long-staying 'rare', a Little Bunting. We did see it, distantly (and a little less distantly through another birder's scope) but the photos were not up to much. There is more to come on the bunting though... Meanwhile, with time getting on, we decided to head back west and stop off for refreshments at Marazion.