The month started well for county year listers with the Pacific Diver lingering into the New Year at Mountâ€™s Bay. The bay also held Grey Phalarope (2), Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes and Black-throated Diver on the 1st. Other lingerers included the White-fronted Goose at Drift, Long-tailed Duck at Sennen, Bitterns at Marazion and twelve Lapland Buntings at Gunwalloe. A single Avocet graced the river at Tresillian. Carbis Bay still held large numbers of gulls feeding on the sprat shoals and included an adult Little Gull on the 2nd. Six or more Balearic Shearwaters were also present as was a Red-necked Grebe.
The Bittern was again at Par Beach Pool and three Spoonbill, Whooper Swan, Barnacle Goose (17) and Pink-footed Goose were all at Walmsley Sanctuary. Find of the day was undoubtedly the two Waxwings that found the only remaining berries in West Cornwall on the Treneere estate, Penzance. Five Spoonbills were on the River Lynher on the 3rd and Avocets were at Wacker Quay (6) and Millbrook Lake (7). Fifteen Black-necked Grebes were in The Carrick Roads and Water Pipits were at Coverack and Bude. A large Falcon initially described as a Saker or Saker/Peregrine Hybrid but later believed to be a Peregrine of the race tundrius or callidrus was at Walmsley and remained there into February. A single Waxwing flying over Sancreed on the 4th may have been one of the Treneere birds as only one remained there on the 5th. It showed extremely well and was last reported on the 9th January. Eight Bewickâ€™s Swans were at Stithians reservoir on the 5th and a Short-eared Owl was at Colliford Lake. Elsewhere, a first winter Little Gull was on the Hayle Estuary and three Balearic Shearwaters, Slavonian Grebe and Great Northern Divers remained in Carbis Bay.
Firecrests were at Marazion and Helston sewage works on the 6th and a â€˜siberianâ€™ type Chiffchaff was also at the latter site. A Water Pipit and a Green Sandpiper were at Treraven Meadows. Two Eiders were offshore at Penzance on the 7th and a drake Ring-necked Duck joined the Bewickâ€™s Swans at Stithians late in the afternoon. Eight Goosanders were in Carbis Bay and another five were in the main channel on the Hayle Estuary. A Bean Goose was reported from Colliford Lake on the 8th with a Pink-footed Goose, two Eurasian White-fronted Geese, three Barnacleâ€™s and four Bewickâ€™s Swans. Another Bewickâ€™s was at Caerhays Castle on the Roseland Peninsula and a Yellow-legged Gull was at Stithians. American ducks continued to provide the interest when a drake Lesser Scaup was found at Dozmary Pool, Bodmin Moor on the 9th. Two White-fronted Geese flew over Colliford Lake and three Snow Buntings were also reported from there.
Three Whimbrels were on Pendennis Peninsula and the Bittern showed well at Par Beach Pool. An unseasonal Swallow flew over the A390 at Probus on the 10th and Lapland Bunting, Corn Bunting and good numbers of Yellowhammers could be seen at Rumps Point on the 11th. Three adult Mediterranean Gulls were on the estuary at Hayle with thirteen Goosanders and 46 Ringed Plovers. A further six Goosander remained in Carbis Bay, where the shoals of Sprat attracted a huge flock of well over 1500 Gannets. An adult Little Gull commuted between the bay and St Ives Harbour. On the 14th a Northern Harrier was tentatively identified at Bartinney Downs, Landâ€™s End having been present since October 2010.
Two Lapland Buntings were at Gunwalloe and an early Sandwich Tern was on the Hayle Estuary. Ten Med Gulls were also on the estuary and others were at Windmill Farm reserve and Gwithian. A Waxwing was on Dracaena Avenue, Falmouth and the Lesser Scaup was still at Dozmary Pool. A second-winter Glaucous Gull joined the feeding frenzy in St Ives Bay on the 15th and showed well off Porthgwidden Beach mid-afternoon. Two Red-necked Grebes were in Carbis Bay and two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were off Hannafore Point, Looe. The drake Ring-necked Duck was relocated at Stithians on the 16th and the probable â€˜Tundraâ€™ Peregrine roamed between Walmsley and Crowdy Reservoir. A Long-tailed Duck was on the sea at Gwennap Head and two unseasonal Sooty Shearwaters passed the headland. A Firecrest was at Tuckingmill Valley Park, Camborne and the two Brent Geese at Looe were joined by another three.
A Red Kite flew towards Bodmin from St Mabyn on the 17th and seven Bewickâ€™s Swans remained at Stithians Lake the following day. Elsewhere on the 18th, three Avocets graced the river at the regular wintering haunt of Tresillian, a Lapland Bunting was at Crugmeer and a Waxwing was in a garden at Bay View Road, Eat Looe. An Iceland Gull flew past Prussia Cove and 20 Goosanders were on the Hayle Estuary. The â€˜probableâ€™ Northern Harrier was seen again at Bartinney on the 21st and a Waxwing was at Gorran Haven late afternoon. A Snow Bunting was at Polgigga and Firecrests were at Heamoor and Connor Downs. Forty Purple Sandpipers were at Jubilee Pool, Penzance on 22nd and a Swallow was over fields at Landulph. â€˜Siberianâ€™ type chiffchaffs were at Wadebridge and Looe and seven Med Gulls were in Gerrans Bay.
A Great-grey Shrike was in gorse at Colliford Downs on 24th and that or another was at nearby Ninestones the following day. A first year Glaucous Gull was on the Cowloe, Sennen on the 25th and a possible â€˜Azoreanâ€™ Yellow-legged Gull was in the cove there the following afternoon. A drake Ring-necked Duck was found at St Gothian Sands, Gwithian the same day. On the 27th there were over 20 Lapland Buntings in a field at Gunwalloe and the Pacific Diver and Lesser Scaup were still at Mounts Bay and Dozmary Pool respectively. Two juvenile Rose-coloured Starlings were reported from a garden at Weethe Cottages, Penzance on the 28th, having been there for the previous three days.
P.Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding Rare and Scarce Bird Report 2011