Monthly reviews of bird sightings and reports in Cornwall

Monthly Round up – June 2017

Historically quiet? June produces the goods with a twitchable Red-footed Falcon, out of season scarcities and early seabirds. Paul Freestone reviews the months highlights.

As ever, June is historically a quiet month in the ornithological calendar, but it is often a case of quality over quantity. The month started well with two first-summer male Red-footed Falcons flying NE over Nanjizal on the 1st. Elsewhere, a Great White Egret was at Loe Pool late evening. The bird was still there the next morning but what was possibly the same bird was reported flying over Stithians Lake the following day. On the 3rd it was back at Loe Pool. On the 4th, an obliging Red-footed Falcon was at Hayle Kimbro, The Lizard and an interesting report was received of a Hoopoe flying over the road at Goss Moor. A Saker (of unkown origin) flew over Carn Trevean near Nanjizal and two Yellow-legged Gulls were on the Hayle Estuary. With the lack of land birds, birders attentions focussed on early sea watches and Porthgwarra produced Sooty Shearwater, Storm Petrel and Pomarine and Great Skuas. Storm Petrels were evident the following day with seventeen off Towan Head, Newquay and another off Porthgwarra. Two Pomarine Skuas and a Great Northern Diver flew past Downderry.

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Monthly Round-up – May 2017

An outstanding Red Kite influx and obliging Bee-eaters, Red-rumps Purple Herons and Temmincks Stint allow for a great end to the Spring in Cornwall, Paul Freestone reports.

The month began quietly with just the Hayle Spoonbill and Pomarine Skuas reported at Rame on the 1st. Things got slightly better on the 2nd with a Richard’s Pipit and a Serin on The Lizard and a Purple Heron at Marazion Marsh. The drake Lesser Scaup was still at Siblyback Lake. The following day, The Lizard added two Hoopoes and Nightingale at Caethillian to the monthly list and a good count of forty-four Wheatears came from Porthgwarra on the 4th. An Iceland Gull was over fields at Crows-an-wra, also on that date. The 5th saw more vagrants arriving with a Black Kite at Polgigga and Alpine Swift and Red-throated Pipit at Pendeen. Unfortunately none of them hung around for the masses! Garganeys were seen at Walmsley and Par (2) on the 6th and a Little Stint was on the high tide at Hayle. On the 7th an Osprey flew over Porth Reservoir early morning and may have been the same bird located at Walmsley the same afternoon. The area also held Ruff and Curlew Sandpiper and Cuckoos were reported from Sancreed (3), Tregonetha (2) and Bartinney Downs. Continue reading

Monthly Round-up – April 2017

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.

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Monthly Round-up – March 2017

Gulls steal the Show in March, but only because the ‘Big One’  got away!  Paul Freestone runs through the months birding highlights.

The Lesser Scaup was still present at Dozmary on the 1st, as was the Yellow-browed Warbler at Tehidy CP. The latter showed extremely well on occasions in trees near to the café. A nice flock of eighteen Cattle Egrets were at Menadue Farm, St Clement and a 1cy Iceland Gull shared the rocks with three Purple Sandpipers at Godrevy. A female Merlin gave close views at nearby St Gothians Sands and a Little Gull was off Little London beach, Marazion. A sea-watch off Pendeen produced Arctic and Great Skuas. A Kumlien’s Gull, two Iceland Gulls and two Yellow-legged Gulls were together in fields at Polgigga on the 2nd and a Glaucous Gull frequented Falmouth Docks in an area that was unfortunately unavailable to the general public.

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Monthly Round-up – February 2017

Paul Freestone reports on a relatively quiet month in the county.

The first of the month saw the usual suspects still at their respective sites. The Hudsonian Whimbrel (or ‘Hudrel’ as it has become lovingly known!) remained at Perranuthnoe, Lesser Scaup was still at Dozmary Pool, Green-winged Teal was at Hayle (with Spoonbill and Avocet) and the Eastern Black Redstart continued to draw admirers at Mousehole. Cattle Egrets were at Freathy (2) and St Erth and Iceland Gulls were reported from Hayle, St Clements Isle and Lizard Village. The following day Cattle Egret numbers increased with three at saltash and five on the rugby pitch at Bude. Walmsley Sanctuary held three Spoonbills, two Ruff and a Spotted Redshank and a Yellow-legged Gull was on Larrigan Rocks, Penzance. The Pacific Diver was off Newlyn on the 3rd and a Pomarine Skua and Iceland Gull were seen nearby. A Kumlien’s Gull roosted on St Clements Isle, Mousehole and two Cattle Egrets were at Stone Farm, Millbrook. A probable Argentatus Herring Gull was with a Yellow-legged Gull on the estuary at Hayle and the Ring-billed Gull was reported from the Gannel again. Four Spoonbills were at Jupiter Point, Saltash. A 2w Ring-billed Gull was on the Hayle Estuary on the 4th briefly before disappearing to the south. Seven Cattle Egret remained on the Gannel and an Iceland Gull was at nearby Porth Reservoir. The drake American Wigeon showed well at Kingsmill Lake and a Glaucous Gull flew past Trevose Head. The headland also hosted an impressive flock of eighty-four Lapland Buntings! Two Iceland Gulls were on the boating lake at Helston on the 5th and three Avocets were on the river at Tresillian. Four Lapland Buntings were at North Cliffs, Camborne. Continue reading

Monthly Round-up – January 2017

Long-stayers, White-wingers and overwintering Warblers kept the County listers interested into the New Year, as Paul Freestone reports.

New Years Day saw the Pacific Diver, Eastern Black Redstart and Hudsonian Whimbrel still in their respective wintering quarters in Mounts Bay and the now resident Spoonbill remained at Hayle. A Ring-billed Gull was on the Gannel Estuary and the Penpol Creek Cattle Egret Roost numbered seventeen individuals. There were a further three still at Sellan Farm, Sancreed and three at Bude. A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Swanvale, Falmouth and a Yellow-legged Gull and Caspian Gull were at Marazion. Two Black-necked Grebes were at Drift Reservoir and the Carrick Roads held a further six birds along with eight Red-breasted Mergansers and and Velvet Scoter. The following day was more productive and long-stayers included the Lesser Scaup at Bodmin Moor and Green-winged Teal at Hayle. The Ring-billed Gull was at Longrock Pool again and Yellow-browed Warblers were at Nanjizal (4), Helston and Falmouth. Five Lapland Buntings were still at Trevilley, Polgigga and a large feeding flock of seabirds off Godrevy Head included singles of Manx and Balearic Shearwater. Two Little Buntings were at Nanjizal on the 3rd and an adult Iceland Gull was at Kenidjack. The three Velvet Scoters were still off Jubilee Pool on the 4th along with the Red-necked Grebe. The six overwintering Woodlark were at Boscregan Fam, Nanquidno and two unseasonal Willow Warblers were at Brew Sewerage Works. A Hooded Crow was seen at Constantine Bay. Continue reading

Monthly Round-up – December 2016

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.

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.

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