Paul Freestone reviews December’s Birding highlights including two familiar returning visitors and a stunning Eastern rarity.
The Hudsonian Whimbrel remained faithful to its Boat Cove location throughout the month and the drake Green-winged Teal remained at Hayle. Both birds were present into the New Year. The Carrick Roads were busy on the 1st with four Velvet Scoter, Black-throated and Great Northern Divers, twelve Red-breasted Mergansers and eighteen Black-necked Grebes. Two Yellow-browed Warblers were at Nanjizal and another couple were at Swanvale NR, Falmouth. A juvenile Glaucous Gull at St Eval airfield was the first ‘white-winger’ of the month and a Spoonbill was at St Johns Lake, Torpoint. Nearby Fifty-two Avocets were on the river Lynher, viewed from Wacker Quay. The Black-necked Grebe and Mandarin remained at Drift and a Bittern was seen at Marazion Marsh RSPB. Two Water Pipits were at Treraven meadows on the 3rd and a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Bude the following day. Elsewhere, a ring-tailed Hen Harrier was at Windmill Farm reserve and the Spoonbill was still on the Hayle Estuary. Five Slavonian Grebes were on the Camel River at Wadebridge on the 5th and a Yellow-browed Warbler was in Morrab Gardens, Penzance. A sub-adult Caspian Gull was found by Brad Dallas on the Hayle Estuary late in the afternoon.
Yellow-legged Gull (M.Halliday)
Caspian Gull (M.Halliday)
Yellow-legged Gull (M.Halliday)
On the 6th a Pomarine Skua flew past Land’s End and two Cattle Egrets were on the Gannel Estaury on the 7th. A second-winter Yellow Legged Gull was on the Hyale Estuary on the 8th and two or more Yellow-browed Warblers and a Firecrest were at Swanvale NR. Another Cattle Egret joined the two at roost in Penpol Creek on the Gannel estuary. A juvenile Iceland Gull was at Sancreed on the 10th and a Yellow-browed Warbler and two Lapland Buntings were at Polgigga the next day. Six Woodlark were still over-wintering at Boscregan Farm, Nanquidno on the 12th and four Spoonbill flew towards St John’s Creek, Torpoint on the 13th.
By the 14th the Cattle Egret roost at Penpol Creek had risen to ten individual birds. A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Bude Marshes on the 15th. The following day two drake Ring-necked Ducks were on Drift Reservoir and two Cattle Egrets were in the surrounding fields there. Yellow-browed Warblers were reported from Nanjizal (3) and one at St Just. The drake American Wigeon was reported again from the Gannel Estuary and three Cattle Egrets were at Sellan Farm, Sancreed. Another Cattle Egret was seen distantly from Upper Tamar Lake. Quite possibly the ‘Bird of the Month’ for many was found at Mousehole on the 18th. A superb male Eastern Black Redstart graced the rocks below the Rock Pool Café and gave superb views, allowing for equally superb images to the delight of photographers. Elsewhere, a Eurasian White-fronted Goose was at Siblyback Reservoir, a Great White Egret was at Marazion Marsh and a Little Bunting was at Nanjizal. There were thirteen Cattle Egrets flew in to roost at Penpol Creek and another five birds were reported from Sancreed. A Glaucous Gull joined the Spoonbill and Green-winged Teal on the Hayle estuary.
Eastern Black Redstart (M. Curtis)
Eastern Black Redstart (P.Freestone)
The Pacific Diver appeared for its tenth consecutive year in Mounts Bay on the 19th and remained into the New Year. A juvenile Glaucous Gull was on St Clements Isle on the 22nd and a Ring-billed Gull was on Long Rock Pool with thirty-seven Med Gulls on the 23rd. What may have been the same Ring-billed Gull was on the Hayle estuary the following day and a probable first-winter American Herring Gull was found by Mushtaq Ahmed at Long Rock Pool. A drake American Wigeon was at Kingsmill Lake on Christmas Day. On Boxing day a Siberian Chiffchaff was at St Andrews Road Pool, Par and three Cattle Egrets were at Bude Marshes. A Great White Egret was again at Marazion and a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Land’s End. Gerran’s Bay held Long-tailed Duck, Red-necked Grebe (2), Slavonian Grebe (5) and Black-throated Diver (2). A Caspian Gull was at Long Rock Pool briefly on the 27th before flying west and three Short-eared Owls were at Bartinney Downs on the 28th. Fifteen Cattle Egrets roosted at Penpol Creek on the 30th and may have been made up from small flocks at Helston (9) and Drift (6). An impressive flock of eighteen Lapland buntings were at Trevose Head during the afternoon. The last day of the year saw the re-appearance of the drake Lesser Scaup at Dozmary Pool. Elsewhere an adult Iceland Gull was at long Rock Pool and a Lapland Bunting was in field at Trevilley.
Paul Freestone’s review of the ornithological highlights for the county in November
The Dalmatian Pelican remained on the Camel Estuary on the 1st of the month and a Dusky Warbler was at Land’s End. Nanjizal Valley recorded the first Waxwings of the year when two birds flew over. Four Yellow-browed Warblers were also trapped and ringed there. The Red-breasted Flycatcher remained at Kenidjack Valley with a supporting cast of Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow-browed warbler and at least three Firecrests. Two late Nightingales were reported from Mullion Cove and a Rose-coloured Starling was at Morrison’s Car park, Longrock. A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Fistral Beach car park, Newquay and Black-necked, Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe could all be seen in the Carrick Roads.
On the 2nd, a 1w Isabelline Shrike showing characteristics of Turkestan shrike, was found in hedgerows near to Trevilley Farm, Sennen by M.Warren and M.Elliot. There were two Richard’s Pipits at Cleave Camp, Bude and M.Halliday found a Cattle Egret roosting with Gulls on the Hayle Estuary, before it flew south in the afternoon. The long-staying Pectoral Sandpiper was at College Lake, Falmouth and Yellow-browed Warblers were reported from Porthgwarra, Nanquidno, St Levan, Rame, Porthcurno and Falmouth. The Hudsonian Whimbrel was reported from Perranuthnoe again on the 3rd and a juvenile American Golden Plover was discovered by L.Langley on the Hayle Estuary. The Cattle Egret returned there too to join the resident Spoonbill and a Curlew Sandpiper. A Richards Pipit was in the Brew Pool area of Sennen and a Long-eared Owl was also present there. The Pink-footed Goose was again at St Gothian Sands NR, Gwithian and a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat and Yellow-browed Warbler were trapped and ringed at Nanjizal. Continue reading
Paul Freestone reviews a superb October in the County, which produced highlights from the East and West, including a 2nd for Cornwall.
The Hudsonian Whimbrel was still present at the beginning of the month at Perranuthnoe, often proving elusive for those still wishing to see this long-staying American vagrant. Wrynecks were reported at Lamorna, Kenidjack and Nanquidno. Seawatching was productive on the 1st with a total of 22 Balearic Shearwaters, 27 Grey Phalaropes, 7 Pomarine, 22 Arctic and single Long-tailed Skuas, 8 Sooty Shearwaters, 2 Leach’s Petrels and a Sabine’s Gull seen from St Ives, Pendeen and Cape Cornwall. A Baird’s Sandpiper showed well at the American Wader Magnet that is Davidstow Airfield on the 2nd and a first-winter Red-backed Shrike was present at Porthgwarra. A Wryneck was found at St Gothian Sands NR and a Lapland Bunting was in fields at St Levan. An Osprey was seen sporadically on the Fal Estuary complex. A Little Bunting was at Pendeen briefly on the 3rd before it flew south. There were reports of Yellow-browed Warblers at Porthgwarra, Land’s End and Portreath and a possible Baltic Gull was at Stithians. Elsewhere, Ring Ouzels were seen at Polgigga and Porthgwarra. Continue reading
The first week in March was a mirror image of the last week in February with all the long staying vagrants and scarcities still at their respective sites. The exceptions were a Waxwing at Indian Queens on the 4th and an early sign of spring movement in a Hoopoe at Trewince near Stithians. The Lapland Bunting flock at Port Isaac swelled again to a massive one hundred and fifty plus birds on the 6th, the biggest flock ever encountered in the Countyâ€™s ornithological history. Continue reading
The Pacific Diver was still present in Mounts Bay at the beginning of the month and the Rose-coloured Starling remained obliging in the gardens of Weethe Cottages, Penzance. Elsewhere on the 1st the drake Ring-necked Duck was at St Gothian Sands NR again and the Lapland Bunting flock at Gunwalloe swelled to over forty individuals. Four Firecrests were in Cot Valley and Walmsley still hosted three Pink-footed, seven Barnacles and a Bean Goose as well as the three Spoonbills. The â€˜Greenlandâ€™ White-fronted Goose remained at Drift and Long-tailed Ducks were at Sennen and Helston. Black Redstarts were reported in good numbers in early February and Bramblings were regular visitors to birderâ€™s gardens. Continue reading
The month started well for county year listers with the Pacific Diver lingering into the New Year at Mountâ€™s Bay. The bay also held Grey Phalarope (2), Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes and Black-throated Diver on the 1st. Other lingerers included the White-fronted Goose at Drift, Long-tailed Duck at Sennen, Bitterns at Marazion and twelve Lapland Buntings at Gunwalloe. A single Avocet graced the river at Tresillian. Carbis Bay still held large numbers of gulls feeding on the sprat shoals and included an adult Little Gull on the 2nd. Six or more Balearic Shearwaters were also present as was a Red-necked Grebe.