Long-stayers, White-wingers and overwintering Warblers kept the County listers interested into the New Year, as Paul Freestone reports.
New Years Day saw the Pacific Diver, Eastern Black Redstart and Hudsonian Whimbrel still in their respective wintering quarters in Mounts Bay and the now resident Spoonbill remained at Hayle. A Ring-billed Gull was on the Gannel Estuary and the Penpol Creek Cattle Egret Roost numbered seventeen individuals. There were a further three still at Sellan Farm, Sancreed and three at Bude. A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Swanvale, Falmouth and a Yellow-legged Gull and Caspian Gull were at Marazion. Two Black-necked Grebes were at Drift Reservoir and the Carrick Roads held a further six birds along with eight Red-breasted Mergansers and and Velvet Scoter. The following day was more productive and long-stayers included the Lesser Scaup at Bodmin Moor and Green-winged Teal at Hayle. The Ring-billed Gull was at Longrock Pool again and Yellow-browed Warblers were at Nanjizal (4), Helston and Falmouth. Five Lapland Buntings were still at Trevilley, Polgigga and a large feeding flock of seabirds off Godrevy Head included singles of Manx and Balearic Shearwater. Two Little Buntings were at Nanjizal on the 3rd and an adult Iceland Gull was at Kenidjack. The three Velvet Scoters were still off Jubilee Pool on the 4th along with the Red-necked Grebe. The six overwintering Woodlark were at Boscregan Fam, Nanquidno and two unseasonal Willow Warblers were at Brew Sewerage Works. A Hooded Crow was seen at Constantine Bay.
On the 5th a Siberian Chiffchaff and Yellow-browed Warbler were at Gwennap Sewerage works and a Ring-billed Gull was on the Hayle Estuary in the afternoon. That or another was present at Marazion in the morning along with an Iceland Gull that showed some characteristics of ‘Kumlien’s’ Gull. A Green-winged Teal was at Walmsley Sanctuary with sixty or more Black-tailed Godwit. The following day saw a putative Caspian Gull reported at Longrock Pool. On the 8th a Yellow-legged Gull was at Hayle and the adult Iceland/Kumlien’s Gull was on St Clement’s Isle, Mousehole. The drake Scaup remained at College Reservoir and a Yellow-browed Warbler was also heard there. Siberian Chiffchaffs were reported from Kynance, Bude and Falmouth and there were two Water Pipits at Walmsley Sanctuary and a Firecrest was at nearby Trewornan Bridge. Two Avocet graced the river at Tresillian. A Yellow-browed Warbler was on the UoE campus at Penryn on the 10th and twenty-six Avocet were observed from Wacker Quay, Antony. Elsewhere, four or more Lapland Buntings were at Trevose Head. A good count of forty-eight Mediterranean Gulls was recorded at Lelant Saltings on the 11th and a drake American Wigeon was on the high tide at Kingsmill Lake on the 12th. Three Cattle Egret were at Restronguet Creek and four others were still at Bude Marshes.
An adult Kumlien’s Gull was at St Buryan on the 13th and adult Caspian and first-winter Yellow-legged Gulls were reported from Padstow. Nearby, a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Dennis Cove. Two Sooty Shearwaters past St Ives Island and two Red-necked Grebes were in Gerrans Bay. A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Tehidy Country Park, Camborne on the 14th and ten Cattle Egrets were in fields near Loe Pool, Helston the following day. Elsewhere, a Yellow-browed Warbler was at Ponsanooth sewerage works and two others remained at Swanvale NR, Falmouth. Four Spoonbills were on Rat Island on the river Lynher on the 16th and Cornwall finally received some Waxwings with three on Pillmere Housing estate, Saltash. On the 17th a sub-adult Yellow-legged Gull was at Hayle and four Lapland Buntings were with a large Linnet flock at Trevose Head. The next day a Cattle Egret flew over Lizard Downs and a Glaucous Gull was at Drift reservoir briefly. St Austell sewerage works got in on the Yellow-browed Warbler action with a single bird there accompanied by a Siberian Chiffchaff. A Waxwing was at Tremaine on the 19th and the drake American Wigeon was reported at the Gannel Estuary. A juvenile Iceland Gull was on the estuary at Hayle.
The Water Pipit was at Hayle again on the 20th and three Waxwings were again reported in a private garden at Saltash. A Hooded Crow was at Sennen Cove and another was at Trevose Head. The latter site also held three Lapland Buntings. Marsh Harrier and Bittern were reported from Marazion Marsh RSPB. The following day a Cattle Egret was on Longrock Pool and Yellow-browed Warblers were in private gardens at Callistick and Perrnarworthal. A juvenile Iceland gull was at Porth Reservoir and a Short-eared Owl showed well at St Agnes Head. A third-winter Caspian Gull was reported at Siblyback Lake and Yellow-legged Gulls were also seen there as well as at Colliford Lake. A Little Bunting was at Nanjizal on the 22nd and nearby Trevilley Farm held a sorry looking Yellow-browed Warbler. A good count of fifteen plus Lapland Bunting was recorded at North Cliffs, Camborne along with a large flock of over two-hundred Skylark. Two Spoonbill visited Walmsley Sanctuary and there were twenty-four Avocet, Spotted Redshank and forty-seven Black-tailed Godwits at Kingsmill Lake. Another Spoonbill joined the pair at Walmsley on the 25th and a juvenile Glaucous Gull was on St Clements Isle, Mousehole. The evening roost there produced the presumed adult Kumlien’s Gull, six Yellow-legged Gulls and a probable second-winter American Herring Gull. A 3cy Caspian Gull was found on the estuary at Hayle and the drake American Wigeon was with 160+ Eurasian Wigeon at Kingsmill Lake. Four Waxwings were seen in a private garden in Camborne on the 26th but unfortunately news didn’t get out until the 28th!
Cattle Egret numbers increased from the 27th with birds reported from Helford River (7), Porthallow (3), Drift (3) and Helston (12) on that date. Elsewhere a first-winter Ring-billed Gull and an Avocet were on the Hayle Estuary and a first-winter Caspian Gull was at Mousehole. The next day Cattle Egrets were at St Merryn (2), Walmsley (1), Newquay (10), St Ives (1) and Bude (5). A Great White Egret dropped into St Gothian Sands NR briefly before flying of to the North-east and nearby, at least ten Lapland Buntings were in fields at North Cliffs. Ten Cattle Egrets were at Coswarth on the 29th and belated news was received of another Waxwing, this time at Penzance on the 23rd! The last day of the month saw the Green-winged Teal still in residence at Hayle, a Cattle Egret at St Erth and two more at Freathy. With strong southerly winds due for the next few days, we might get a few very early migrants!?
Paul Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding