The Cattle Egrets still dominated the Cornwall Birding news on New Years Day 2008, the largest flock being 20 birds at the regular Treganhoe Farm location between Drift and Sancreed. This flock were still present at the end of the month. The total number of birds probablyÂ peaked at around fifty individuals (the ones we know about!)Â Last years rarer lingerers also included the Cot Valley Hume’s Leaf Warbler and the Green-winged Teal at Hayle. The formerÂ was still present into february. Elsewhere on the 1st, a Spoonbill was at Whacker Quay, Antony and a Bittern started a long stay at Stithians.
On the 2nd, the Avocet was still on the Hayle Estuary and a Swallow wasÂ found at Ruan Lanihorne. A Ring-billed Gull was found at Copperhouse Creek on the 3rd, but didn’t stay around for year listers to catch up. A Grey Phalarope braved the waves off Tolcarne Beach and a Lapland Bunting was at Egloshayle. Black-necked Grebes showed well in Newlyn Harbour and were often joined by very obliging Great northern Divers, all were present at the months end.
An Iceland Gull at College Reservoir on the 6th was the first of a mini influx of ‘white-wingers’ into the west of the county. A Yellow-browed Warbler located at Tehidy Country Park on the 7th was re-identified as a Hume’s Leaf Warbler on the 21st. The bird initially caused some controversy but was caught and ringed at the end of the month, confirming it’s identity. Iceland Gulls were at Hayle and St Agnes on the 9th and a Water Pipit was at Copperhouse Creek. On the 10th Iceland Gulls were at Lands End and another at Hayle and a Ring-billed Gull was at Stithians Reservoir. The Humes Leaf Warbler was located again at Cot on the 11th after a short absence and a Little Auk showed well off the beach at Swanpool.
Five Spoonbills were at Whacker Quay on the River Lynher on the 12th and a Glaucous Gulls were in the Cove at Sennen on the 14th and on the Hayle Estuary on 16th. The 16th also produced two adult Iceland Gulls at Sennen Cove and a juvenile flew past Marazion. Elsewhere a ‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff was at Helston Sewage works.Â ‘White-winged’ Gulls remained prominant on the 19th with three Iceland Gulls and two Glaucous GullsÂ at St Ives off Porthgwidden Beach and a Glaucous Gull at Sancreed. Two Iceland Gulls were in the Penzance/Newlyn area on the 20th and two or three birds could still be seen at Newlyn at the months end, roosting most evenings on St Clements Isle, Mousehole.
Cattle Egrets continued to be reportedÂ from all parts of the county. Goosanders were reported throughout the month at Stithians, Porth, Siblyback and College/Argall Reservoirs and the Water Pipit remained loyal to St Gothian Sands NR at Gwithian. Two Jack Snipe were at Walmsley Sanctuary on the 21st. A female Ring-necked DuckÂ began aÂ stay at Stithians on the 22nd and was still there at the months end. A Dartford Warbler was reported from Land’s End in the afternoon. A Ring-billed Gull at Helston Boating Lake on the 24th was one of two reported from there during the month. Elsewhere, an American Herring Gull put in an all too brief appearance at Sennen Cove and a ‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff was at Marazion RSPB reserve.
Fifty-four Avocets, three Spotted Redshank and seventeen Black-tailed Godwits graced Kingsmill Lake on the 26th and a possible hybrid American x Eurasion Wigeon was at College Lake. Little Gulls were at Gwithian and Dinham Flats and Rosenannon Downs held Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl. The rarest gull of the month was a Bonepartes Gull that was seen by one lucky observer as it drifted west past Hell’s Mouth, Gwithian on the 27th. It could not be relocated despite extensive searching the next day. Also on the 27th another Yellow-browed/Humes Leaf type warbler was found near Duchy College, Camborne. The bird proved elusive and called infrequently and may possibly still remain at the months end. A Yellow-browed Warbler was also reported at Sheffield on the 28th and nearby a Stone Curlew was seen in flight at Kerris near Newlyn.
The Egyptian Goose remained at Millbrook all month. The Cattle Egret flock totalled more than seventeen birds at Drift on 31st and a ‘Siberian’ Chiffchaff kept the Bittern company at Stithians. Heres looking forwards to February, remember what turned up last year!!
Paul Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding 2008