Monthly Bird Review – April 2009

After it went missing and presumed ‘never to be seen again’, the Great-spotted Cuckoo was refound on the 1st at Bartinney Downs near St Just by F.Currie, who found the bird nine days earlier at nearby Chapel Carn Brea! The same day saw the Snowy Owl spend the morning at Sperris Quoit before relocating to Mayon Cliff, Sennen for the afternoon. At Newquay, a Gyr flew north over Cliff Road at 09.45hrs and nine Cattle Egrets were again on the estuary at Hayle. Six Cattle Egrets were at Sennen on the afternoon of the 2nd and a singing Western Subalpine Warbler was in Sixty-foot Cover, Porthgwarra. The Great-spotted Cuckoo remained mobile at Bartinney Downs. The Gyr was again at Newquay on the 3rd when it flew over the link road late in the afternoon. It was still in the area on the 4th at Barrowfields. A Hoopoe flew from Churchtown Farm CNR, Saltash on the 4th and a Red Kite was over Trefew Park, Camelford.

The Great-spotted Cuckoo was last reported flying north from Bartinney Downs on the 6th and Cattle Egrets were still at Hayle (8) and Sennen (6) on the 7th. Three birds were at Drift on the 8th. An unseasonal Sabine’s Gull flew west past The Lizard on the 9th and a possible Subalpine Warbler gave brief views at Botallack on 10th. The Ring-billed Gull re-appeared at Helston Boating Lake on the same day. The 12th saw a Black Kite fly over Lelant in the evening and a Stone Curlew was at Rame head, briefly. Four Cattle Egrets were at Lands End in the garden of Swingates house. A Sabine’s Gull flew past Lizard Point again on the 16th and a Red Kite was over Kilkhampton. The following day a Sabine’s Gull was reported off Gwennap Head early afternoon.

Spring scarcities on the 18th came in the shape of a Wooodchat Shrike at Cot Valley and a Serin at Coverack. A hybrid Hooded x Carrion Crow was at Sennen. An interesting sighting of a sub-adult Golden Eagle  was received from Stithians reservoir on the 19th. The bird was photographed as it was mobbed by Common Buzzards before drifting north. Although no jesses were evident in the photographs, the presence of rings could not be ruled out and the birds’ origin remains unknown. The Snowy Owl put in an appearance at St Gothian sands NR on its journey north but stayed only briefly, much to the disappointment of some patch regulars! A pair of Kentish Plovers were of some consolation on the estuary at Hayle during the late morning and afternoon.

Two Cattle Egrets were at Trevilley farm on the 20th and a Red Kite flew over Lelant. At Newlyn a possible Spotted x Common Sandpiper hybrid was present at the mouth of the stream by the Tolcarne Inn. A Hoopoe was at Windmill Farm reserve on 23rd and an Osprey flew over Truro. Two Pom Skuas were off Penzance seafront on 25th and the first Common swifts of the year were reported at Zennor. On 24th a Red Kite flew over Holywell Bay, Newquay and a Pectoral Sandpiper was at Walmsley sanctuary. Turtle Doves are becoming increasingly rare in the county so one in a birders garden at Goonhavern was a welcome surprise. Walmsley Sanctuary continues to turn up good waders and the 29th was no exception with two Little Stints and a Temmincks Stint joining the Pectoral Sandpiper. The last day of the month saw a small movement of Whimbrel with twenty at Marazion and fourteen at St Gothian Sands NR. Elsewhere, seawatching at Porthgwarra produced four Pom Skuas and six Puffins.

Paul Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding 2009

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