The Lizard – Serin (male) singing bu youth hostel this morning. Hoopoe flew SE over Caethillian Cove at 0950hrs. Nightingale singing at Caethillian Valley. Richard’s Pipit still in grass field just south of Man o’ War View. Hoopoe at Ruan Minor on recreation ground (Thanks F.Trewin)
A light-hearted look at a potential mega day in Cornwall!
So you’re planning a trip to Cornwall in May. You have 24hrs to see as many species in the county as you can. Planning is essential and you never know what might turn up that will have you driving to the other end of the county. Traditionally Cornwall is best known for its Autumn scarce and rare species and the Spring can often be poor in comparison. However, it can and has experienced some great passage and rare visitors and it is those that we will concentrate on here. So, hypothetically speaking, if you take all of the birds recorded in Cornwall in the month of May from every year in the past and condense them into one mouth-watering day list, what could you get with an unlimited amount of petrol, no speed limits or traffic hold ups, 24 hours of daylight and a bit of imagination?
We start the day early, in the North of the county, at Tamar lakes, just inside the border with Devon, where the Spotted Sandpiper and White-winged Black Tern show really well. Next we head east to Boscastle where the county’s first White Crowned Sparrow is in a private garden. We then head south across Bodmin Moor catching up with another county first and arguably the rarity of the day in the shape of a Northern Oriole. A Bonaparte’s Gull is a somewhat unexpected bonus at Siblyback Lake and a Pectoral Sandpiper makes the list at nearby Colliford. An Iberian Chiffchaff is added at Dunmere Wood where we also pick up plenty of moorland specialities like Redstart, Wood Warbler and Pied Flycatcher. Saltash is our next destination where we encounter a fly-over Alpine Swift, an Ortolan Bunting and a superb Orphean Warbler. A quick detour to Rame, the most south-easterly headland in Cornwall gets us a nice Black-headed Bunting and a Roller. An unseasonal Laughing Gull is another unexpected American vagrant further down the coast at Polperro and a group of four Black-winged Stilts at Par Beach is too good to miss! A Great Reed Warbler in the reeds there is also a real bonus. A Squacco Heron at Portmellon takes us further south than we had wanted to be at this point in the day and we are a long way off when news breaks of an American Bittern at Walmsley Sanctuary on the other side of the county!
Migrants and Overshoots keep birders happy but late new of rarities spoil the party! – Paul Freestone Reviews the months highlights.
The Lizard is always a good place to start looking for Spring migrants and overshoots on a southerly breeze in April and there were certainly no fools in field on the first (Try saying that when your drunk!) with a smart male Woodchat Shrike found at Kynance and the Hoopoe in gardens at Manaccan. Cattle Egrets were at Newquay (6) and St Erth (3). The latter were later on Ryan’s Field, hayle. The Lesser Scaup remained at Dozmary Pool and a Great White Egret was on the estuary at St Anthony. Iceland Gulls were reported from Pendeen and Gwithian and eight summer plumaged Water Pipits were fresh in at Walmsley. The following day Ryan’s Field held six Cattle Egrets and a 1st calendar year Little Gull flew through. Last month’s sub-adult Ring-billed Gull was on the estuary again with the two Spoonbills. Two other Cattle Egrets were at Bude Marshes and another Woodchat Shrike was found, this time at Nanquidno Valley. On the 3rd there were Iceland Gulls at Hayle, Gwithian, Coverack and three birds roosted on St Clements Isle, Mousehole. A Glaucous Gull was in a ploughed field at Nanquidno and a lingering Yellow-browed Warbler was in a private garden at Falmouth. The 4th was relatively quiet with the only reports of note being Cattle Egrets at Newquay (5) and St Erth (4), Iceland Gulls at Newquay and Hayle and the Woodchat Shrike still on the Lizard. The Hudsonian Whimbrel was reported again at Boat Cove on the 5th. Elsewhere a Great White Egret flew over Crousa Down on The Lizard and a male Serin was at Nanjizal. A Red Kite was over the A30 near Bodmin.