Historically quiet? June produces the goods with a twitchable Red-footed Falcon, out of season scarcities and early seabirds. Paul Freestone reviews the months highlights.
As ever, June is historically a quiet month in the ornithological calendar, but it is often a case of quality over quantity. The month started well with two first-summer male Red-footed Falcons flying NE over Nanjizal on the 1st. Elsewhere, a Great White Egret was at Loe Pool late evening. The bird was still there the next morning but what was possibly the same bird was reported flying over Stithians Lake the following day. On the 3rd it was back at Loe Pool. On the 4th, an obliging Red-footed Falcon was at Hayle Kimbro, The Lizard and an interesting report was received of a Hoopoe flying over the road at Goss Moor. A Saker (of unkown origin) flew over Carn Trevean near Nanjizal and two Yellow-legged Gulls were on the Hayle Estuary. With the lack of land birds, birders attentions focussed on early sea watches and Porthgwarra produced Sooty Shearwater, Storm Petrel and Pomarine and Great Skuas. Storm Petrels were evident the following day with seventeen off Towan Head, Newquay and another off Porthgwarra. Two Pomarine Skuas and a Great Northern Diver flew past Downderry.
On the 6th, The Lizard’s Red-footed Falcon flew over the recreation ground at Lizard village towards Kynance and the Great White Egret was on the southern causeway at Stithians, showing well in front of the Stuart Hutchings hide. A Red Kite flew over the A38 at Menheniot. Sea watching continued in earnest with watches from Pendeen, Porthgwarra, Towan Head and Cape Cornwall producing two Sooty Shearwaters, three Balearic Shearwaters, c3800 Manx Shearwaters, thirty-three Storm Petrels, five Great Skuas, eighty-nine Fulmars and a summer plumaged Golden Plover. A Red Kite was over fields at Polzeath on the afternoon of the 7th.
More sea watching on the 8th produced a Roseate Tern off Lizard Point and good numbers of Manx Shearwaters off Porthgwarra and Penlee Point, Rame. A Barnacle Goose of unknown origin was with the Canadas on the Hayle Estuary and a Hobby flew over Ryan’s Field. Out of season wildfowl on the estuary included a Wigeon and two drake Gadwall. The Red-footed Falcon was reported again from Hayle Kimbro on the 9th along with a Hobby and a Marsh Harrier. Common Scoter numbers were impressive on the 10th with eighty-one off Chapel Point, fifty-five off Penlee Point and twenty off Downderry. A Little Tern was also of interest from the Chapel Point sea watch.
The Red-footed Falcon remained at Hayle Kimbro on the 11th to 13th. A Great White Egret was showing well at Colliford Lake on the latter date and a Purple Heron flew west over Mawgan Porth during the morning. A Great White Egret was reported flying over the A30 at Hayle on the 14th and an Osprey flew NE over Fowey. Red Kites were seen at Godolphin, Stithians and Carminellis and a Hobby was north of St Austell. Hobbys were seen at Ruan Highlanes and Park Head the following day. On the 17th a Red-rumped Swallow was on The Lizard at Ponsangoth and a probable Melodious Warbler was in sallows at Marazion Marsh RSPB. Wandering Red Kites were recorded at Bodmin, Wadebridge, Godolphin and Penzance. A Red-footed Falcon flew over Coronation Park, Wadebridge and a total of nineteen Red kites were seen from six different sites. A Common Crane was seen in a field near Lostwithiel on the 19th and a small Crossbill influx included sixteen birds at Nanjizal/Polgigga. A Cory’s Shearwater flew west past Lizard Point and twenty-four Red Kites flew east there. A 3cy Yellow-legged Gull was on the Hayle Estuary on the 20th.
A pelagic boat trip in Mounts Bay produced close views of Great, Sooty and Balearic Shearwaters on the 21st and a very late Iceland Gull was at Siblyback Reservoir. Crossbills were seen at Lamorna (2) and Porthgwarra (5) and Red Kites were reported from Bridge, Carbis Bay and Charlestown. A Great Shearwater flew past Porthgwarra on the 22nd and another was seen off Lizard Point the following day. Elsewhere, twenty-two Med Gulls were on Marazion beach. On the 24th, another pelagic trip with Marine Discovery in Mounts Bay witnessed excellent views of both Cory’s and Great Shearwaters and both species were also seen from Lizard Point. The Red-footed Falcon was at Ruan Minor on the 25th and a Quail was at Windmill Farm reserve. A Great Shearwater flew past Porthgwarra and a Sooty Shearwater flew past Rumps Point.
On the 26th the Red-footed Falcon was at Cadgwith Cove late evening and three Little Terns were seen from a sea watch off Porthgwarra. On 27th a Cattle Egret was at Clapper Marshes and a Red Kite was over the golf course at Lelant. On the 29th four Roseate Terns graced Marazion Beach with ten Common Terns. Surprisingly all four were ringed birds. Elsewhere a Wryneck was an unusual sighting in a private garden at Penzance. The last day of the month saw four Roseate Terns off Pedn-olva, St Ives and two birds remained at Marazion. Sea watching produced Great Shearwater at Cape Cornwall and good numbers of Storm Petrels at Pendeen and St Ives Island.
July is also historically quiet but sea watching picks up with occasionally impressive numbers of large shearwaters passing the western headlands. The end of the month should see a few returning waders to the county and Med Gull numbers increase. Keep an eye out for Black Terns on inland waters.
Paul Freestone (c) Cornwall Birding 2017