Friday, 20 November 2015

Birding the Hayle Estuary - 19th November

I spent much of yesterday morning birding the Hayle Estuary (north Cornwall) with fellow birder and photographer Max Thompson. Despite the heavy drizzle that presided throughout most of our visit, we saw a respectable selection waders and waterfowl. This was partly due to the high tide forcing many birds into the inner marsh and close to the road, making birding easier.

Spending our first hour in the hide near the inner marsh, we were pleased to see the two Spoonbills that have been present here for sometime, after the pair flew in and landed not far away. It was great to see some 140 Lapwings14 Redshanks12 Curlews, two Goosanders, two Snipe, two Bar-tailed Godwits and a Greenshank from the hide too. We spent quite a while being entertained by the persistent plunge-diving feeding technique deployed by a particular Black-headed Gull directly in front of the hide (see below).

Venturing towards the estuary side after the rain had eased somewhat, we came to the bulk of the birds that reside in the Hayle: wildfowl. There must have been some 700 Wigeons and 120 Teals spread out in loosely-clustered flocks along the roadside, trying to avoid the worst of the weather. A high tide roos of gulls included around 170 Herring, six Lesser Black-backed, eight Greater Black-backed and 20 Mediterranean Gulls. We could also pick out 13 Shellducks, 13 Turnstones, a Ringed Plover and four Dunlins. It was great scanning through this multitude of birdlife and seeing what we could pick out. I look forward to heading back soon. Here are some shots from the day.

The inner marsh and hide at Hayle

Tufted Duck

Black-headed Gulls

The cool plunge-diving technique deployed by this Black-headed Gull was cool to watch

Little Egret


Wigeon numbers are really building around the Cornish coast now



  1. Sounds like you had a great time, and got some brilliant photos!

  2. Hi Ashley! Yeah, it was great (despite the weather!). Thanks for the compliments :)