Trevor (Charlton) arrived from Grimsby around 9pm Monday and Tony (Dixon) made it just before 10. I was the designated driver on this one as Tony had done a few last Spring when I was working. We picked Tony's mate Russ up in Hull and headed for the M1 were we'd arranged to meet Steve Lawton at Woodall services.
We had a few issues with road closures (not what you need on a 400 mile plus night drive) but we made it eventually. The weather was kind and the chaps kept me awake. We were deep into Cornwall when the first signs of light appeared...through the fog!
We arrived at Lands End around 6 and it was still foggy. We drove around the peninsular and eventually found a decent clump of expectant twitchers. Trevor, Steve and Russ had a stretch, I had a rest in the car with Tony. After around 20 minutes they returned as nothing was doing in the cold, foggy conditions. We decided to try and find a high point with a good view over the area. We eventually found a good spot on the Porthgwarra road.
Time passed and the fog lifted...slowly. We now had a good enough view...to see a Pelican!!!
Around 10 a car pulled up. I recognised the face as I'd seen him over the years on a few twitches including the CAPE MAY and the SIBE RUBYTHROAT. It was Franco. He was off to Porthgwarra to walk his dog. He told us there was a rumour that the bird had been seen passing Marizion Marsh?
It was worth checking out and we were soon down at the car park. There were plenty around but there was no real focus and the information was confused to say the least. We bumped into Brett Richards and had a coffee with him while we decided what to do next. We then overheard that a Woodchat Shrike was present right across the road. It would have been rude not too...
Things were slow at this time while we worked out our next move. Our decision was made for us at 11.33...
Cornwall DALMATIAN PELICAN ad again Land's End over Swingates House at 11.30
Scramble! We made our way quite quickly back from Marizion to Land's End. It was a lively scene on arrival...understandably. Some of the car parking left a lot to be desired! The bird was disappearing into the ether but we all got a (distant) view. Was that going to be it? Had it spiralled up...and away?
Some unfortunately didn't make it back in time. I hoped it wouldn't be our last view. It wasn't. It soon re-appeared and proceeded to give a fantastic display floating back and forward over the peninsular.
A giant of a bird with a wingspan of over 10 feet it made for an awesome sight for everyone to enjoy.
There's been a wealth of comment and theory about the birds provenance. Some interesting and informed, some not so. I have an open mind on the bird and will let the relevant authorities decide. I prefer the innocent until proven guilty theory.
Pelican immediately suggests "escape" and it may well be BUT just because there are plenty on the continent in collections it doesn't necessarily mean this is one of them...does it? I'm sure further investigations will ensue but surely we need facts and not assumptions!
Anyway, it was a great day out with some good lads...and a hell of a bird!!!