Monthly Bird Review – October 2009

The Woodchat Shrike was still at Nanquidno on the 1st and a Ring-Billed Gull was in Sennen Cove late afternoon. A Wood Sandpiper was at Stithians and the Garganey remained at marazion Marsh. Another Garganey was at the Hayle estaury on the 2nd and a Hobby flew along Bosistow lane, Polgigga. Two Grey Phalaropes flew past Land’s end and a Yellow-legged Gull was in nearby sennen Cove. A Wryneck was at Lizard point on the 4th and a Yellow-browed warbler was at porthgwarra. A Hobby and two Spotted flycatchers were at Kenidjack and Firecrests were recorded at Helston (3) and Rame (1).

A Ring-billed gull was at The Loe pool on the 5th  and a Whooper swan was in fields at Sancreed on the 6th. A Snow bunting was in a field at the top of Nanquidno valley. A Wryneck was at Porthgwarra on 7th with a supporting cast of Black Redstart and Firecrest. A Yellow-browed warbler was near Brew Farm, Sennen. A Firecrest and a Yellow-browed warbler joined the ever-present Woodchat Shrike at Nanquidno on the 8th and Yellow-broweds’ were also at Porthgwarra and on the Lizard. A Ring-billed gull and a Yellow-legged gull were both at The Loe Pool and a Richards Pipit was in field  near Sennen. Lands end hosted another Yellow-browed Warbler on the 9th with Tree Pipit, Ring Ouzel and Yellow Wagtail also noted. On the Lizard migrants included five Firecrests, Ring Ouzel, Redstart and Yellow-browed Warbler. Pothgwarra also held Yellow-browed as well as Black Redstart, three Firecrest and two Dotterel.

Spoonbills were at wadebridge (6) and Marazion (1) on the 10th and Yellow-browed warblers were at Porthgwarra, St Levan and Porthcurno. Three Whinchat were at Lands End and the Ring-billed gull was again at Loe Pool. Lapland Buntings were at Gwithian and Sennen. Two Pectoral sandpipers turned up at walmsley sanctuary on the 11th and a Richards Pipit was at St Just. Yellow-broweds were reported from Kenidjack, Cot Valley, Porthgwarra and Porthcurno on the 12th and Richards Pipits were at Nanjizal and North Cliffs, Camborne. On the 13th, two Great-white Egrets flew over Marazion and Spoonbills were at Marazion, Sennen (4, later seen at Hayle) and Porthgwarra. Porthgwarra also held Yellow-browed Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Firecrest, Woodlark and Turtle Dove. A Yellow -browed was in a private garden in Camborne.

The Great-white Egrets were reported as single birds the next day from St Buryan and Drift reservoir and a Red Kite and a Woodlark flew over Marazion. Five Spoonbills met up on the Hayle Estuary where a female American Wigeon was also reported. A Wryneck and a Garden warbler were at St Levan and a Caspian Gull was at Sennen. Yellow-broweds were reported from Sennen, Nanquidno, Porthgwarra and Kenidjack Valley. A possible Radde’s Warbler was at Lands End on the 15th and Ring Ouzels were at Gwithian, Polgigga and Porthgwarra. The latter site also held a possible ‘Northern’ Willow Warbler. Five Spoonbills flew out to sea from Lands end at midday on the 16th where one was attacked by a Peregrine! Six Spoonbills remained on the Hayle estuary and another was seen flying over Tolcarne Beach, Penzance.

On the 17th a Little Stint was at Copperhouse Creek and there were three Richards pipits at lands end. Yellow-browed warblers were still at Kenidjack, Nanquidno and Penzance. Six Chough and two Dartford Warblers were at Caerthillian on the 18th and a futher eight Chough were at Nanquidno. The Ring-billed Gull and Long-tailed Duck remained on Loe Pool and a Richards pipit was at St Levan. On the 19th the Caspian Gull was again at Sennen and Yellow-browed Warblers were at Tehidy CP and Nanquidno. Two Richards Pipits were at Sennen on the 20th and a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was was at St Ives Island. A probable Baird’s Sandpiper was with Golden Plover at Trewey Hill, Zennor on the 22nd and a Richards pipit was at Nanquidno.

The last few days of the month were dominated by the GREEN/GREENISH WARBLER debate. The bird at Church Cove was initially dicovered on the 28th and news was released as Greenish Warbler. The following day however, doubt was cast on its initial identification and the news was changed to the possibility that the bird was in fact a Green Warbler. This potential 2nd for Britain proved too much for many and ‘twitchers’ headed for the Lizard for a ‘safety’ tick. The bird information services then played it safe with the ‘possible Greenish or Green Warbler’ message recieved by most pagers. A visiting birder then recorded the birds calls and found that sonograms taken from the recordings matched that of Greenish Warbler. So the news went back to the original ‘Greenish Warbler at Church Cove’. And up to now thats how its stayed! 

A Radde’s Warbler took up residence at St Levan and showed well to observers on occasion. It was joined briefly on the 29th by an Olive-backed Pipit. A Red-throated Pipit flew over Kenidjack on 28th. The Spoonbill remained faithful to the Hayle Estuary and up to five others were on the Camel Estuary. A Cattle Egret was also reported on one day from the Hayle Estuary. Hen Harrier (3), Ring Ouzel (2), Merlin (2), Barn Owl (2), Short-eared Owl (2) and Black Redstart (3) were at Men-an-Tol late afternoon on 25th. Black Redstarts were reported from numerous areas including Constantine, St Ives, Porthgwarra, Truro, St Colomb Major and Liskeard. A Snow Bunting was at Pentire Point on 25th.

On the 31st an interesting report of a possible Little Swift was recieved. Tom Polglase reported “Today at 11.30 am at Reskajeage Downs, North Cliffs, near Camborne I saw a swift that was new to me. The bird was the size of a house martin with a large white rump. The birds flight was fluttery and its wings were more stumpy than a common swift. Its body in flight looked dark against the sky.When the bird circled its tail was spread in a fan shape. I am certain this bird was a little swift” The bird was seen independently by two other birders.

Elsewhere on the 31st, Richard’s Pipit, Merlin, 6 Black Redstarts, 7 Siskins, Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 60 Redwings, 20 Fieldfare, 200 Golden Plover, 7 Snipe, 7 Lapwing and 4 Med Gulls were at Sancreed and Kelynack hosted a late Spotted Flycatcher and 8 Chiffchaffs.

Paul Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding 2009

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