Monthly Bird Review – January 2009

The SNOWY OWL continued to delight the crowds on New Years Day and despite being harassed on the odd occasion it remained in the area until the 24th. Elsewhere, there were Cattle Egrets at Halsetown (2) and Sancreed (3)  and the Ring-billed Gulls remained at Helston. Nearby there were three Siberian Chiffchaffs, three Firecrest and a Yellow-browed Warbler at the sewage works. The maximum count for Purple sandpipers occured on the 2nd with thirty-nine on the rocks at Jubilee Pool, Penzance. The Black-necked Grebe was still in Sandy Bay, Newlyn. Cattle Egrets numbers totalled six in the county on the 3rd with two new birds at the Gannel Estuary, Newquay. A Rough-legged Buzzard was reported from Falmouth, apparently for its 5th day but there were no subsequent reports and no further details of the bird. Another (or possibly the same bird?) was at Porthkidney Sands, Lelant on the afternoon of the 5th. This one was watched feeding on the carcass of a gull. Elsewhere, the Yellow-browed Warbler in Mark Halliday’s garden at Lelant Saltings, was joined by a Firecrest! Cattle Egrets were at Sancreed (3), Gannel Estuary (4) and Polgigga (5). The latter site also held a 2nd-winter Glaucous Gull.

A Waxwing was at Lizard Village briefly on the 6th and the Great Grey Shrike was again at Stithians Reservoir. A single Swallow remained in the Marazion area and four Chough were at Land’s End. A superb male Ring Ouzel was at St Gothian Sands NR, Gwithian on the 7th and the same site held a possible Jack Snipe. The 9th saw the Bird of the Month Award go to the male PINE BUNTING at Polgigga. This County first was seen by Kester Wilson at Trevilley Farm before it flew towards Higher Bosistow and was not seen again. It could not be re-located despite extensive searching. A ‘red-head’ Smew was at Siblyback Lake on the 10th with Yellow-legged Gull (4) and a singing male Crossbill at the same site.

A Grey Phalarope was at St Gothian Sands briefly on the 11th before it was killed by a Common Buzzard! The juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was still in Newquay on the 12th. Large numbers of Sand Eels and Sprats in Carbis Bay attracted hundreds of seabirds throughout the month including a Sooty Shearwater feeding close offshre at St Ives Island on the 12th and a Little Gull on the 13th. Also on the 13th three Grey Phalaropes were on the sea at Cot Valley. Last years Azorean Yellow-legged Gull was at Sennen again on the 15th with Iceland and Yellow-legged Gulls also present. The 16th saw a Red Kite over The Lizard and two Grey Phalarope in Mount Bay. There were five Grey Phals in the Bay the next day, some showing extremely well. A drake KING EIDER was in St Austell Bay on the 18th but could not be relocated the next day, to the disappointment of many! Two probable YELKOUAN SHEARWATERS flew past St Ives Island on the morning of the 18th and an  American Wigeon was at Ruan Pool, Windmill Farm. Two Snow Buntings were on the Airfield at Davidstow on 19th until the months end.

Two Spoonbills were on the River Lynher at Landulph on the 20th and Grey Phalaropes were at Portscatho and Gunwalloe (4). Iceland and Glaucous Gulls took up residence in Newlyn Harbour for the last week of the month and both remained into February. The SNOWY OWL was seen again, being mobbed by a Merlin, at Sperris Quoit, Zennor on the 24th after a six day absence and nine Cattle Egrets were at Newtown-in-St Martins near Helford. Cattle Egrets were at Penpol Creek (3) and St Broek (2), Wadebridge and Pentire Farm, Polzeath (1) on the 26th. A Red Kite was seen flying over the A30 at Launceston on the 27th and there were twelve Little Gulls off Newlyn.

The Whooper Swan was at Walmsley Sanctuary all month and Water Pipits remained at Marazion, Gwithian and Treraven Meadows, Wadebridge. Bitterns were seen at Marazion, Stithians and Amble Marshes during the month as well as one at Windmill Farm on the 17th, which was the first record for the reserve. There were good numbers of all three Diver Sp. reported from Carbis, Mounts and St Austell Bay throughout the month.

Paul Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding 2009

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