The Cattle Egret influx continued to gain momentum throughout December. Total numbers seem to be between 35-40 birds reported countywide, but how many more slipped through un-noticed? The largest flock were 19 birds at St Ives, near Halsetown and 15+ at Treganhoe Farm, Drift and at least 30 birds were still present in the county at the months end. Other birds left over from November were the Green Winged Teal at Hayle and the Water Pipit at St Gothian Sands NR, both still present at months end.
Up to 30 Purple Sandpipers were regularly reported from the rocks at Jubilee Pool, Penzance. A Pomarine Skua flew past Sennen on the 1st and the 1st winter Little Gull was again at St Gothian Sands NR. Two more Poms were seen at Sennen on the 2nd and one was reported from Pendeen. Two Dark-bellied Brent Geese were on the Estuary at Hayle.
A female Ring-necked Duck was found at College Reservoir, Falmouth on the 3rd and seawatchers at St Ives Island produced Grey Phalarope, Balearic Shearwater, Pom Skua and Little Auk. Two ringtailed Hen Harriers were at Crowdy Reservoir on the 4th and two Little Auks found shelter in Carbis Bay. A 1st winter Ring-billed Gull was a brief visitor to the Hayle Estuary during the afternoon and a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Boscathnoe Reservoir.
A Swallow reported at Falmouth Docks on the 6th had apparently been present for several days. Five Pom Skuas were seen from St Ives on 7th and a 1st winter Iceland Gull was seen from the same place on the 9th. The adult Pacific Diver was reported again in Mounts Bay on the 10th and amazingly, another adult was reported from Porthpean, St Austell on the same day. The Yellow-browed Warbler at Boscathnoe was joined by another and another bird was at Helston Loe Pool. A House Martin at Penlee Park, Penzance was a very late record. Elsewhere, 26 Pink-footed Geese flew over Walmsley Sanctuary.
On the 11th, four Spoonbills were together on the River Lynher at Whacker Quay. Two juvenile birds were also present briefly on the Hayle Estuary and were probably the same birds seen on the 13th at Millbrook Lake. Two Crossbill were at Crowdy Reservoir. A 1st winter Iceland Gull was on the Cowloe, Sennen Cove on 13th. A ringtailed Hen Harrier was at Rosenannon Downs, St Colomb Major on the 14th and aÂ Yellow-browed Warbler was at Tehidy Country Park on the 15th.
A Great Grey Shrike was found at Siblyback Reservoir on the 16th and remained untilÂ 30th, Â though proved elusive towards the end of its stay. An unconfirmed report of two adult Laughing Gulls came from the Porthleven area, also on the 16th, but there were no subsequent sightings. A Bittern was seen in flight at Marazion Marsh on the 18th and an Avocet took up residence on the Hayle Estuary, still present at the months end. Five Avocets were at Tresillian on the 22nd and a Yellow-browed Warbler at Cot Valley was re-identified as Hume’s Yellow-browed a few days later. The bird called constantly and showed well inÂ the area around Daisy Cottage. It was still present at the months end.
On 24th, a Blyth’s Pipit flew over Polgigga and was thought to have landed in fields at Trebehor. It was not relocated. Two Woodlarks flew overLudgvan, Penzance. A female Ring-necked Duck was at Porth Reservoir, Newquay on Chritmas Day and the adult Pacific Diver was reported again off Porthpean, St Austell. A late swallow flew over Harlyn Bay, St Austell on 27th. Three Black-necked Grebes were off Sandy Cove, Newlyn on the 31st.
Paul Freestone (Cornwall Birding 2008)