Sunday 5 June 2016

Cornish Pasties and Dalmatian Pelicans

Switched our family holiday from Kent to Cornwall at the last minute, as the prospect of a Lammergeier and a Dalmatian Pelican at large seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. The main species I had been hoping for was Heath Fritillary and it seemed there was a chance of those in Cornwall too...

Our drive across Dartmoor failed to turn up the elusive Lammergeier, though I was perhaps a little over optimistic. More successful was my Monday morning twitch to Drift Reservoir to check out the other avian colossus of rather suspicious origin, a Dalmatian Pelican. This bird arrived on a big warm southeasterly which brought in a wide range of other rares, including Great Bustard in Kent. It is thought to be a bird that was previously in Poland. Unlikely to be accepted, but as good a candidate as any, being unringed, wary and arriving in mid May with a great supporting cast. The bird has given a lot of people the run around, but in recent days has been spending much of its time on Drift Reservoir. After a bit of a run around myself (as the bird seemed to have disappeared) another birder tipped me off, and I scooted over the dam and round into the northeast arm, where this giant was happily standing on a tree stump preening in the early morning sun. Escape or not, a really stonking bird, with a bright tomato-soup orange throat pouch and curly mop top. Smart.

 One of the Mallards is saying to the other "Don't go near it. They eat Pigeons you know!"

Post Script. This bird has been accepted as a wild bird by the British Birds Rarities Committee and is therefore the first record for Britain. Bonus!

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