Monday, 5 August 2013

Clayheads on Tour - Corsica


Myself and Mrs PJ had always fancied visiting the island of CORSICA, her reason to sample the many fine French wines & Cuisine mine to add 3 more ticks to my Western Pal/World list.
July is always a quiet month so nothing to worry about back home then, but it is also quiet abroad with very little still singing so the birding was at times a slog.
The main target was the endemic Corsican Nuthatch which wasn't that hard to connect with. Nuthatches can't resist investigating when they hear what they think is a rival Nuthatch on their patch and sure enough in the third area of woodland in the Restonica Valley where I played the call in one flew. I had good views through the scope but it never really came within camera range so I've had to get me pens out.

Corsican Finch was a bit trickier, I saw one at the top of the Restonica Valley on the first morning and 3 near Vivario and that was it.

Never connected with Bearded Vulture though, the French don't like the name ' Lammergeier' which means Lamb killer as they feel its undeserved and they are probably right.

I looked for them at Haut Asco and the Restonica but had no luck. I did see Golden Eagles at both sites however including 4 in the air together plus a flock of 25 Alpine Choughs at Haut Asco.

PJ at Haut Asco

Other noteable species during the week included Crag Martins, Alpine & Pallid Swifts, Mamoras Warbler, Moltonis Warbler, Bee Eaters, Cirl Buntings, Scops Owl and loads and loads of Spotted Flycatchers. Red Kites are also very common.

Italian Sparrows are also obviously common but worth mentioning since they have now been promoted to full species status.

Everything was going swimmingly until Wednesday when I received a Tweet from Cheshire informing me that a Caspian Tern had roosted that night at Acre Nook. The fact
that it was in Cheshire didn't bother me much I had seen one in that county before, I just had this feeling that knowing my luck it would probably visit Staffs at some point.
Thursday evening came and it was back at its roost site but no reports as yet from Gods country so that was ok,  then on Friday lunch I checked my phone and noticed that I had had not one but SEVEN phone calls from Brian Carthy !!! This meant one of two things either the phone was going off in his pocket or the dreaded had happened !!
 Now I have always been quite lucky with Terns in fact me and Terns really do get on!! It started back in '88 when I visited Anglesey on the same day as the Bridled turned up, I got the Gull billed a year later at Blithfield, then there was the Royal Tern in Llandudno which I managed to twitch with minutes to spare, I refound a Whiskered once in Norfolk the list goes on but to think that a Caspian Tern would wait for me till I got back from holiday on Sunday lunchtime !! people have been locked up for less.
Saturday dawned and the Caspo was again at Rudyard ( the place that Mr Kipling was named after incidentally ) well it had certainly turned up an exceedingly good bird this time.
A pattern had emerged it roosted at Acre Nook and fed at Rudyard probably doing so since Thursday at least so.... surely not !!
Our final morning, always sad when your hols are over but this time there may be a little icing for my cake.
 First however we had to drop the car off at the airport, now the good people at Avis had faces like smacked arses when I handed over the keys,  but as I said,  a dab of T Cut and it would buff up a treat !!

Back in Blighty I waited till I was in the Terminal building before switching on my phone as instructed and the first two texts were from Mr Locker and they read.....
Sun 12:51pm - Caspo back at Rudyard at 12pm
Sun 1:01pm - Still there 12.45pm
Typically my case was the last to come of the plane I grabbed it off the conveyer and we were off. With the aid of the Sat Nav we made to Rudyard in record time via a series of country lanes and at 2.30pm there it was sitting on the mud, the best bird in Staffs since the Belted Kingfisher - I really do love Terns.