Tuesday 24th February
Let's try to catch up. Monday morning was spent mostly sorting out a few matters over issues arising with the bank! All sorted amicably eventually and it was then a cycle to Helston to meet a friend with Upton Warren connections, Stuart Croft. Stuart has worked in Cornwall for the RSPB for a long time now. Initially he worked on the Cornish Chough project but is now involved in the cirl bunting project.
At Helston Boating Lake, we enjoyed a long chat, a pasty in a shelter and then hot chocolate in the cafe. Just outside the whooper swan swan around and hence became bird number 150 on the Green Year list. Do I get a round of applause like in cricket?
Great to see him but with the need to get going, we said goodbye and I cycled along the A road towards Falmouth. After 6 miles I deceided to take the smaller country lanes and enjoyed this far more than the noisy traffic strewn road, despite the frequent ups and downs. Into Constantine village and out again, over to Mawnan Smith and to Maenporth. With an hour or so of light, I started searching for the reported king eider. All along the coastal path I went, masses of gulls resting on the water, I saw a great northern diver but no eider. I then found the female eider but not the king, Samuel Perfect arrived just after 6 with very little light and I found a duck that could have been the king eider. Through his Swarowski we could make out the paler breast and head shape but I wasn't satisfied with the views. Samuel said it was the king eider but I decided to come back in the morning.
In darkness we rode together to another local birder's house, Dan. He had kindly offered accommodation for the night and the evening was spent talking birds. Dan had done a Big Western Palearctic year in 2011 and after looking and discussing his bird book collection, I heard about his efforts that saw him get over 550 in that year.
Next morning, after saying a big thank you to Dan and his lovely partner, Suzie. Samuel arrived and together we went back for the king eider. We stopped off at Swanpool and had very close views of the long-tailed duck and ring-billed gull there.
At Maenporth we spent around an hour searching for the king eider and eventually found it. It was a long way out and directly in line with the sun's reflection. Moving fruther along the headland, we came across it again in better light and now with the female eider. At last, views that I could say yes I've seen the bird, Bird number 151.
By the time it was to get cycling Samuel and I had had a slavonian grebe and a great northern diver and Falmouth's reputation was secure. Great birding.
A portion of cheesy chips and hot chocolate ended my time at Maenporth in the beach cafe there.
Then it was a long cycle to St Austell, via Truro. I reached there about 4.00pm and feeling absolutely cream crackered, I found a pub that had accommodation opposite the large church there. I must have been a tad tired for I just lay down on the bed for a minute and heard myself snoring. That woke me up.
Today it's a cycle as far as I can get in daylight towards North devon. I am behind my itinerary by at least a couple of days and with 2 RSPB reserves up there and a male ring-necked duck to see I need to try to catch up a bit.
Now please have a look at the photographs of the 24th's photos on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/bikingbirder2015
Also if you could please make a small donation to any of the charities that I am supporting then please click on the links to the right. I know I put this onto the end of every blog posting but I really get a boost from every donation. The RSPB, The WWT, Asthma UK and Chaskawasi-Manu. I would be so grateful if you could make a donation however small. Thanks.
All the very best everyone. Love to you all xx