Monthly reviews of bird sightings and reports in Cornwall

Monthly Round-up – August 2017

Paul Freestone reports on rare seabirds, early migrants and successful breeding firsts.

The Glossy Ibis flock increased by one at Walmsley on the first, bringing the total to fourteen birds. Seawatching conditions remained favourable and despite poor visibility on the 2nd, a Fea’s Petrel was seen briefly from Gwennap Head. Wilson’s Petrels were reported at Gwennap Head (4), Mousehole and Mevagissey. The following day three Wilson’s were seen from the returning Scillonian III and a possible Fea’s Petrel was reported early morning off Mousehole. Seven of the fourteen Glossy Ibis were seen to depart from Walmsley and were later reported in Devon. On the 5th a Purple Heron was seen to fly out to sea at Porthgwarra and a Wood Sandpiper was at Stithians.

Glossy Ibises (A.Langdon

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Monthly Round-up – July 2017

Generally a quiet month, July 2017 will go down in Cornish Ornithological history as one of the best ever! Paul Freestone reports on some amazing seabird records and an equally incredible rare Vagrant!

The 1st of the month saw a Woodchat Shrike at Boscastle and a Cattle Egret was at Walmsley. A Roseate Tern gave birders the runaround in Mounts Bay with sightings at Marazion and Penzance during the morning. Elsewhere a Red Kite flew over St Just. A seawatch from Porthgwarra on the 2nd produced fourteen Sooty Shearwaters and two Storm Petrels. The following day there were six Cattle Egrets at Walmsley and seawatching improved at Porthgwarra with adult Long-tailed Skua, five Great, twenty-nine Sooty and a couple of Balearic Shearwaters. There were very few reports of note on the 5th but all hell let loose on the 6th when Mark Wallace found the UK’s 2nd ever AMUR FALCON at Polgigga. The mega find created mass panic across the UK and birders descended on Polgigga in their hundreds. The bird, a first summer female, looked a bit tired and bedraggled to some, but survived the night, much to the delight of those who travelled through the night to see it. It was last seen flying north late morning on the 7th. Elsewhere on the 6th, a juvenile Dipper was an unusual sight on the Red River at Gwithian and two Crossbills were at Truro. Continue reading

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