Migrants and Overshoots keep birders happy but late new of rarities spoil the party! – Paul Freestone Reviews the months highlights.
The Lizard is always a good place to start looking for Spring migrants and overshoots on a southerly breeze in April and there were certainly no fools in field on the first (Try saying that when your drunk!) with a smart male Woodchat Shrike found at Kynance and the Hoopoe in gardens at Manaccan. Cattle Egrets were at Newquay (6) and St Erth (3). The latter were later on Ryan’s Field, hayle. The Lesser Scaup remained at Dozmary Pool and a Great White Egret was on the estuary at St Anthony. Iceland Gulls were reported from Pendeen and Gwithian and eight summer plumaged Water Pipits were fresh in at Walmsley. The following day Ryan’s Field held six Cattle Egrets and a 1st calendar year Little Gull flew through. Last month’s sub-adult Ring-billed Gull was on the estuary again with the two Spoonbills. Two other Cattle Egrets were at Bude Marshes and another Woodchat Shrike was found, this time at Nanquidno Valley. On the 3rd there were Iceland Gulls at Hayle, Gwithian, Coverack and three birds roosted on St Clements Isle, Mousehole. A Glaucous Gull was in a ploughed field at Nanquidno and a lingering Yellow-browed Warbler was in a private garden at Falmouth. The 4th was relatively quiet with the only reports of note being Cattle Egrets at Newquay (5) and St Erth (4), Iceland Gulls at Newquay and Hayle and the Woodchat Shrike still on the Lizard. The Hudsonian Whimbrel was reported again at Boat Cove on the 5th. Elsewhere a Great White Egret flew over Crousa Down on The Lizard and a male Serin was at Nanjizal. A Red Kite was over the A30 near Bodmin.
A possible White-tailed Eagle was reported flying over Tregorrick, St Austell on the 6th. The report came from a national website and unfortunately there were no further details and surprisingly no further sightings! Cattle Egrets were at Clapper Marshes (3) and St Clement (5) and a Great White Egret was reported flying over Sennen. A second-winter Iceland Gull was on the pontoons at Siblyback Lake and a moulting Yellow-browed Warbler was near Polgigga at Little Trethewey. At Newquay, an Osprey was on the Gannel and two Red Kites flew east of the airport. On the 7th the large Little Egret roost (57 birds) on the Camel Estuary also held seven Cattle Egrets and another seven were at the Gannel estuary roost. Another Great White Egret was at Amble Marshes and an Osprey showed extremely well, catching fish on the Hayle Estuary. A Woodchat Shrike was in Cot Valley and Red Kites were reported from Wadebridge, Hayle, Falmouth, Nanquidno and Polgigga. A single Cattle Egret was on Ryan’s Field on the 8th and a drake Garganey was on a nearby pool. Another Garganey was at Amble Marshes and Little Ringed Plover and two Water Pipits were also present there. An adult Night Heron and a Garganey were together at a site with no public access near St Ives and nearby Buttermilk Hill sported three Ring Ouzels. A Hoopoe flew in off the sea at Old Lizard Head and on the opposite coast a male Lapland Bunting was at Trevose. Woodchat Shrikes were at Cot, Tregeseal and The Lizard on the 9th and a Red-rumped Swallow flew east over Penberth Cove early afternoon. A spring Wryneck was at Nanjizal Valley and a Hoopoe was calling from trees at Mevagissey. The Hayle held a putative Caspian Gull and migrants at Trevose included Long and Short-eared Owls, Turtle Dove, Tree Pipit and Grasshopper Warbler. Late Iceland Gulls were reported at Marazion, Drift, Polgigga and Hayle and an Osprey was seen over Buttermilk Hill, St Ives.
The BIG news on the 11th was the appearance of ‘Doris’ the Humpback Whale which, having spent a few weeks in Devon, now performed superbly to clients on board the AK Wildlife Cruise in Falmouth Bay. Birds of note were an Osprey over Truro, Redstart at Porthgwarra and two Ring Ouzels at Buttermilk Hill. On the 12th a Glaucous Gull, an Iceland Gull and an Osprey were all seen at Hayle and over 70 Black-tailed Godwits were on the river at Tresillian. A superb drake Pintail showed well at Helston Boating Lake and an Iceland Gull was at Nanquidno. Three Iceland Gulls were in fields north of Connor Downs on the 13th and a Garganey was at Walmsley. The following day a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Swanpool and a Ring Ouzel was at Kit Hill, Callington. An Osprey flew over Chasewater and a Hooded Crow was at Sennen. Twelve Cattle Egrets were at St Clements on the 15th and two Little Buntings were discovered at Goss Moor. A Woodchat Shrike was in fields behind Old Lizard Head on the 16th and a Black Kite flew west over Goonhilly Downs. An Osprey was also seen over the latter site. A Hooded Crow flew over the Lizard on the 17th and belated news was received that two Hoopoes (on the 11th) and a Squacco Heron (on the 14th) had been seen and photographed in Cornwall. Unfortunately the finder did not disclose the sites despite photographs of the Squacco appearing to be on a public beach!
On the 18th a Purple Heron flew over Indian Queens and the rugby pitch at Bude held five Cattle Egrets. Iceland Gulls remained at Coverack, Sancreed, Mousehole and Gwithian and a Pied Flycatcher was at Rame Head. Turtle Dove and Tree Pipit were seen at Porthgwarra. Another Purple Heron flew east over Crousa Downs, The Lizard on the 19th and Red Kites were seen over Porthgwarra (2), Penzance, Carminellis (3), Crows-an-Wra, Zennor and Stithians. Two Cattle Egrets and a Garganey were at RSPB Marazion Marsh the following day and a White Stork drifted high west over Penzance on the 21st. A female Red-footed Falcon was on wires by the pumping station at Caethillian on the 22nd and luckily was still in the same area the following morning. The Sunday morning regulars managed to eek out a few other goodies and highlights included a male Western Subalpine Warbler at Land’s End and a Red-rumped Swallow at Nanjizal. A Wryneck was at Caethillian Cove with a Ring Ouzel also present, two Little Stints were at Lizard Point and a Blue Headed Wagtail was at Nanjizal. The Lesser Scaup re-appeared at Siblyback and an Osprey was at Dinham Flats. There was no real change for the remainder of the week other than an Avocet at Ryan’s Field on the 24th, a showy Kentish Plover at Praa Sands on 27th (to 28th), a Serin at Rame, Little Tern at Marazion and Turtle Dove at Land’s End on 30th.
Paul Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding 2017