Monthly Bird Review – May 2008

A few Cattle Egrets remained with three at Treganhoe Farm on the 1st. Woodchat Shrikes remained from last month at Lands End and Helston. A Lesser Whitethroat was at Penlee Point. On the 2nd a Golden Oriole flew south from Trinity Cottages, Sennen early morning. The 3rd turned out to be ‘Bee-eater Day’ with three in off the sea on The Lizard, four at Porthgwarra, three at Polgigga and two at Lands End. A Subalpine Warbler was at Nanjizal and Lands End also held an Icterine Warbler. Elsewhere Spring migrants included a Hobby at Marazion, Cuckoo at Stithians and two Wood Sandpipers at Dinham Flats. Nine Cattle Egrets were still at Boscreage Farm on the 4th and others were at Maer Lake, Bude and Walmsley Sanctuary.  A Golden Oriole was at Porth Joke and a Redstart was at Nanquidno Farm.

On the 5th Golden Orioles were at Colliford Lake, Sancreed and Rame, the latter site also held Wood Warbler. A Hoopoe was in fields near Nanjizal. A 2nd Cal. Yellow-legged Gull was off Sennen lifeboat station on the 6th and Montagu’s Harriers were reported from The Lizard and Rame Head. Four Wood Sandpipers were at Walmsley Sanctuary. Red Kites appeared in number on the 7th with singles at Lands End and Bodmin Moor, three at Cot Valley and two at St Buryan. A Tawny Pipit was seen briefly at Chapel Forth, Mevagissey and European Bee-eaters were at Lands End (2) and Nanjizal. The male Subalpine Warbler at Nanjizal and was joined by a female and Woodchat Shrikes were at Nanquidno and Trevose Head.

The 8th saw more Red Kites with birds at St Just, Penzance, Drift, Marazion, St Ives and Callington. An Icterine Warbler was singing at Trinity Loop Pool, Sennen and a Pomarine Skua was seen from the Scillonian III in the evening. The Cattle Egret influx appeared well and truly over on the 9th when twenty-three birds were seen flying east at Polgigga. There were no subsequent large numbers of Cattle Egret in Cornwall after this and it looks like we may have to wait for our first breeding pair. Elsewhere, a Red-rumped Swallow flew south at Lands End late morning and a Wood Sandpiper was at St Gothian Sands, Gwithian. A Night Heron was flushed from the Red River at St Gothian Sands on the 10th but could not be relocated.

The 11th saw an unexpected rarity in the form of an adult Franklin’s Gull that flew west over Stithians Reservoir at 11.00hrs. A single Cattle Egret was at The Lizard late evening and a Short-toed Lark was singing from the car-park at Land’s End. The bird was later located at Sennen where it remained until the last day of the month. a European Bee-eater was also at Lands End and a Tawny Pipit continued the ‘purple patch’ at St Gothian Sands, Gwithian. Other spring migrants included a Woodchat Shrike at Duckpool, Bude and a Golden Oriole at Rame Head. A Red-rumped Swallow graced the Lizard on the 12th and a Montagu’s Harrier was at nearby Windmill Farm reserve.

Another ‘Red Kite day’ occured on the 13th with eight birds over Polgigga, two birds over Porthcurno and singles at Connor Downs, Truro, Porthgwarra and The Lizard. A Black Kite was seen over Wearde Quay, Saltash and at nearby Saltash, a singing Nightingale took up residence near the entrance to Tregantle Fort. On the 14th an Osprey was seen flying east at Marazion then presumably the same bird at St Gothian Sands and later over Newquay Hospital. Red Kites were reported from Bodmin, Truro and Camelford. On 15th Tawny Pipits were seen at Polgigga and Sennen and a Golden Oriole was seen briefly at Brew Pool. Waders were evident today with Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint at Hayle Estuary and a Little Ringed Plover at Walmsley.

Cornwall finally got in on the National Red-Footed Falcon influx on the 17th, with a bird on wires north of Camelford. A Hoopoe was in a private garden at St Blazey. Mounts Bay was the place to see Terns on the 18th with two Roseate, thirteen Arctic, six Common, four Sandwich and a Little Tern off Marazion. A Woodchat Shrike was at Caerthillian Cove, The Lizard on the 19th and a Golden Oriole was singing at Cot Valley. A Hoopoe flew over Manor Farm, Bottallock and Red Kites were at Porthgwarra and looe. Croft Pascoe produced the second Red-footed Falcon of the year on the 20th and another was near Davidstow on the same day. A Montagu’s Harrier was also at the latter site. Lands End had a bit of a purple patch on the 22nd with flyover Great-white Egret, Golden Oriole and Ortolan Bunting and two Turtle Doves were at Sennen. Also in the west of the county there was a Golden Oriole at Nanaquidno and a singing Nightingale was on Bosistow Lane, Polgigga.

A Black Duck was flushed from Butters Tor, Bodmin Moor on the 23rd and a ‘dark rumped’ Whimbrel was at Dinham Flats. Thought to be a possible Hudsonian Whimbrel, the bird could not be relocated the next day. Elsewhere, a Honey Buzzard circled over Treeve Common, Lands End and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was in fields near St Austell. A European Bee-eater was on wires near Porthcurno on 24th. Another (or the same) Bee-eater flew over Nanjizal on the 25th and was probably the same bird seen later at Sennen. An Osprey flew over the racecourse at Retallack, St Colomb Major and four Hobby were at Goonhilly Downs. A female Red-footed Falcon was near Davidstow at Bray Down on the 28th. Nearly as rare in Cornwall, a Tree Sparrow was at Swingates House, Lands End on the 29th.

The Hayle Estuary held an immature Spoonbill on 30th that remained until 5th June. Also on the 30th there was a Montagu’s Harrier and Red-rumped Swallow on The Lizard and an Osprey flew over Rame Head. A very obliging Honey Buzzard began a  14 day stay at Croft Pascoe on the 31st and a Short toed Lark flew west over Nanjizal. This was probably the Sennen bird as it was not seen again there after this date. An Osprey flew east over Porthgwarra.

Paul Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding 2008

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