Monthly Bird Review – February 2008

Traditionally a quiet month, with maybe the exception of 2007, February didn’t disappoint. Many of January’s rarities lingered into this month, including the Hume’s Leaf Warblers at Tehidy and Cot Valley and up to twenty Cattle Egrets at Treganhoe Farm, Drift. Iceland Gulls continued to grace Newlyn Harbour throughout the month with up to five birds of varying ages present. Some of these were possibly the birds reported from nearby Drift Reservoir. The Bittern and female Ring-necked Duck were still at Stithians Reservoir and the Water Pipit was still at Gwithian at the months end. Elsewhere the Long-tailed Duck remained at Loe Pool, Helston and the Little Gull was seen sporadically at Gwithian.

On the 2nd Cattle Egrets were recorded at Newquay (5), Stithians (3) and Looe (2). A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Gunwalloe Marsh and a Glaucous Gull was at Hannafore Point, Looe. A Spoonbill flew east past Mabe on the 3rd and the Whimbrel was again at Mousehole. There was a ‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff at Carnon Downs Sewage works. The PACIFIC DIVER put in appearances off Porthpean on the 4th and 5th. Also on the 5th, four Spoonbill were on the River Lynher and a Yellow-browed Warbler was in a private garden in Truro. A juvenile Iceland Gull flew past Sennen Cove. An adult Ring-billed Gull was on the beach at Marazion briefly on the 6th and twenty-two Cattle Egrets were reported from five different locations.

Drift Reservoir held Yellow-legged Gull and a hybrid Glaucous x Herring gull on the 7th and a Yellow-browed Warbler and ‘Siberian Chiffchaff’ were at Helston Sewage works. Trevollard Farm, Saltash produced an interesting Yellow Wagtail, also on the 7th, which was considered to be of an Eastern race. This is the third consecutive winter that Eastern race Yellow Wagtails have been recorded in Cornwall, with one at Saltash in 2006 and before that at Helston in January 2005. (per P.Freestone and C.Buckland)

Eight Cattle Egrets were on the Camel Estuary at Wadebridge on the 8th. On the 9th there was Ring-billed and Yellow-legged Gull present at Hayle Estuary. The Avocet remained on the Estuary too. Six Woodlark were in fields at St Clement, Truro on the 10th and Purple Sandpipers totalled 38 birds at Jubilee Pool on the 11th. Two adult Pink-footed Geese were at Stithians Reservoir on the 13th and four Avocets were on the River at Tresillian. On the 14th a Richards Pipit joined the Yellow Wagtail at Trevollard Farm, Saltash adding to the Wagtail’s eastern race credentials. Did these birds arrive together?

Stithians Reservoir produced a Ring-billed Gull on 15th and the Bittern and Cattle Egret continued to show well there too. ‘Spring’ arrived on the 16th in the shape of a House Martin at Crackington and Trevose Head was the place for buntings on the 18th with three Lapland and forty Corn Buntings aswell as twenty or more Brambling. A 1st winter Ring-billed Gull followed the plough at Sennen on the 19th and two Spoonbills were at Whacker Quay on the River Lynher. The Pacific Diver was reported again off Lower Porthpean on the 20th and five Small Canada Geese were seen flying towards St Ives on 21st from the Hayle Estuary. Elsewhere a an unseasonal Garden Warbler was on the Two Trees Estate, Wadebridge. A possible first winter American Herring Gull was on the Beach at Sennen Cove on the 22nd before flying west to Cowloe.

On the 23rd there were six Firecrests, Yellow-browed Warbler and ‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff at Lower Nansloe Farm, Helston and the Long-tailed Duck was still on the Loe Pool. The first Sand Martins of the year were at St Ives and Clapper Marsh on the 24th and Lapland Bunting numbers at Trevose Head had risen to seven birds.  A ringtailed Hen Harrier flew over Gunwalloe Marsh and a Cattle Egret was at China Fleet Country Park, Saltash.  An ARCTIC REDPOLL was found at Crowdy Reservoir on the 25th but to the disappointment of many, could not be located the next day. A Hoopoe was located in garden at Polgigga and remained in the area until the 27th when it flew north and has not been relocated. A House Martin was along the River Camel and two Sand Martins were reported from Porthpean.

A Yellow-legged Gull was on the Estuary at Hayle on 27th and Wheatears were seen at Rumps Point and Trevose Head.

Paul Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding 2008

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