The start of a new decade began with a drake Ring-necked duck at Porth Reservoir, Newquay. The Richardâ€™s Pipit was still available for New Years day listers at crows-an-wra and with white winged gulls relatively low in numbers this winter, an Iceland at Sennen and a Glaucous past Godrevy were welcome early additions to the year list. Two Balearic Shearwaters flew past St Ives and four Spoonbills were still at Dinham flats, where there was also a Water Pipit. Last yearsâ€™ Long-tailed Duck lingered at Helston Loe Pool. A Bittern and a Water Pipit were at Marazion Marsh on the 2nd and the latter mentioned species was also recorded at Bude Marshes. Two Firecrests were at the Degibna Car Park, Helston and two Spoonbills were again on the River Lynher at Wacker Quay. The Carrick Roads held eighteen Black-necked Grebes and two Velvet Scoter. A probable Siberian Chiffchaff was at Marazion Marsh on the 3rd and two further â€˜possiblesâ€™ were at Carnon Downs Sewage Works the following day. Elsewhere on the 4th, a Firecrest was at Cot Valley, two Water Pipits were at Treraven Meadows, Wadebridge and an Avocet and two Black-necked Grebes were on the river at Tresillian. The 5th saw a Firecrest near the hide at Loe pool and a possible Ring-necked duck was reported from Carminoe Creek.
There were few birds of note then until the 13th when a juvenile Pallid Harrier was identified at the Harrier Roost at Men-an-Tol. The bird was frustratingly elusive and roamed widely across the western moors with sightings from Nanjizal, northwards to St Ives. Elsewhere, a Cattle Egret remained at Brew Farm, Sennen and an unseasonal Curlew Sandpiper was on the Gannel Estuary, Newquay. Marazion held three Bitterns, two Water pipits and a Yellow-legged Gull and eleven Barnacle Geese were in fields near Morvah.The Cattle Egret at Brew Farm was joined by another on the 14th and six Balearic Shearwaters flew past Gwennap Head. A Red-crested Pochard of unknown origin was on a pond at Padstow. A Black Guillemot was off Gorran Haven on the 15th and the Pallid Harrier was reported flying north over Nanjizal Valley. The Barnacle Goose flock had increased to nineteen birds at Morvah and an impressive count of fifty-nine Purple Sandpipers was received from Jubilee pool, Penzance. Three Barnacle Geese were at Drift reservoir on the 17th and the Pallid Harrier put in another brief appearance at Nanjizal. Three Spoonbills were on the Fowey River at Golant and black-necked and Red-necked grebes were on the sea off Penzance.
A first-winter Ring-billed Gull was on the estuary at Hayle on the afternoon of the 18th and a 2nd winter Iceland Gull joined the three Barnacle Geese and a Whooper swan on Drift reservoir. An Iceland Gull at Sennen Cove the following day was probably the Drift bird. Elsewhere on the 19th, two Balearic Shearwaters flew past St Ives and a Bittern was at Swanpool, Falmouth. Two Firecrests were at Park Shady sewage works, Mount Hawke on the 20th and a Richards Pipit (Crows-an-Wra bird?) was at Walmsley Sanctuary, Wadebridge. A Firecrest was at Lelant Saltings on the 21st and a Long-tailed Duck was in Sennen Cove. An overwintering Whimbrel was at Castle Beach, Pendennis on the 22nd and a Yellow-legged gull was on the Hayle estuary. A Water Pipit took up residence at St Gothian Sands NR, Gwithian and a Little Gull was in Sennen Cove. A Harrier that flew over Brew Farm on the 23rd was thought to be the roaming Pallid Harrier and a Siberian Chiffchaff was calling at Helston sewage works. A Firecrest was on the Lizard at Trellowarren Mill. The two Cattle Egrets remained at Brew Pool on the 24th and another two were at Tresemple Pool, Tresillian the same day.
A drake Lesser Scaup was reported from Dozemary Pool on the 25th having been present for the previous nine days and the Pallid Harrier was again in the Sennen area. The adult Yellow-legged Gull reappeared on the Hayle Estuary and up to four Bitterns were at Marazion Marsh. A Red Kite was reported flying east over Eastern Green, Penzance on the 26th. A Black Guillemot was in Gerrans Bay on the 27th and a Ruff was with an immature Spoonbill at Kingsmill Lake, Saltash. The first Grey Phalarope of the year was off Sennen on the 29th and the Tamar Birdwatching Cruise on the 30th recorded seven Spoonbills and two-hundred and fifty-five Avocets. The 31st saw a Siberian Chiffchaff at St Austell sewage works and an adult male Ring Ouzel was at Church Cove, The Lizard.
P.Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding 2010