Paul Freestone’s review of the ornithological highlights for the county in November
The Dalmatian Pelican remained on the Camel Estuary on the 1st of the month and a Dusky Warbler was at Land’s End. Nanjizal Valley recorded the first Waxwings of the year when two birds flew over. Four Yellow-browed Warblers were also trapped and ringed there. The Red-breasted Flycatcher remained at Kenidjack Valley with a supporting cast of Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow-browed warbler and at least three Firecrests. Two late Nightingales were reported from Mullion Cove and a Rose-coloured Starling was at Morrison’s Car park, Longrock. A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Fistral Beach car park, Newquay and Black-necked, Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe could all be seen in the Carrick Roads.
On the 2nd, a 1w Isabelline Shrike showing characteristics of Turkestan shrike, was found in hedgerows near to Trevilley Farm, Sennen by M.Warren and M.Elliot. There were two Richard’s Pipits at Cleave Camp, Bude and M.Halliday found a Cattle Egret roosting with Gulls on the Hayle Estuary, before it flew south in the afternoon. The long-staying Pectoral Sandpiper was at College Lake, Falmouth and Yellow-browed Warblers were reported from Porthgwarra, Nanquidno, St Levan, Rame, Porthcurno and Falmouth. The Hudsonian Whimbrel was reported from Perranuthnoe again on the 3rd and a juvenile American Golden Plover was discovered by L.Langley on the Hayle Estuary. The Cattle Egret returned there too to join the resident Spoonbill and a Curlew Sandpiper. A Richards Pipit was in the Brew Pool area of Sennen and a Long-eared Owl was also present there. The Pink-footed Goose was again at St Gothian Sands NR, Gwithian and a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat and Yellow-browed Warbler were trapped and ringed at Nanjizal.
The following day two Whooper Swans were on Carnsew Pool, Hayle with two Spoonbills. There was also an interesting gull showing characteristics of both Herring and Glaucous. Ring Ouzels were seen at Porthgwarra and Polgigga and a Lapland Bunting was at Pendeen. On the 5th a Cattle Egret was relocated at Sennen and four Lapland Buntings were in fields at Polgigga. The Rose-coloured Starling was reported from Longrock again. Good numbers of thrushes were reported moving over the county on the 6th and a Redstart was seen in Penzance. Elsewhere, a Firecrest was in a private garden in Crowlas and a Siberian type Chiffchaff was at Bude Marshes. On the 7th a Bittern was seen at Marazion Marsh and nearby a juvenile Purple Heron was in trees at Brittons Hill, Penzance. A Bearded Tit, a very uncommon bird in Cornwall, was seen briefly at Land’s End and a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat (blythi) was trapped and ringed at Nanjizal. A Yellow-browed Warbler was at Trevilley and the American Golden Plover was reported again at Hayle.
On the 8th the Dusky Warbler was still at Lands End and a Common Rosefinch was reported on farmland at Gerrans. The bird was unfortunately on private land with no general access. A drake Green-winged Teal was a great find by Toby Phelps at Hayle on the 9th and goes to show that perseverance can pay off! The bird was also ringed and numbers gleaned so far show it was ringed in North America. It remained to the months end. Elsewhere, 16 Balearic and 4 Sooty Shearwaters flew past Pendeen Watch and Black Redstarts were at Newlyn, Cape Cornwall and Land’s End. The following day two Yellow-browed Warblers were at Marazion Marsh RSPB. On the 11th, four Yellow-browed Warblers were trapped and ringed at Nanjizal including the 100th to be ringed there this year! There was also a Siberian Chiffchaff and Dartford Warbler in the valley. Lapland Buntings were evident with one at Porthgwarra and four at Nanquidno. The latter site also held six Woodlark. A drake American Wigeon was on the Gannel Estuary on the 12th and Scaup and Pink-footed Goose were recorded at Drift Reservoir. A Siberian Chiffchaff was on the canal footpath at Bude and the estuary at Hayle held Arctic Tern, Garganey, Water Pipit and two Spoonbill.
On the 13th there were two Lapland Buntings at Land’s End and the Bearded Tit was seen again. Other birds there included Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest and Siberian Chiffchaff. A Dusky Warbler was trapped and ringed at Nanjizal on the 14th along with another four Yellow-browed warblers! Long staying visitors included the Dalmatian Pelican at Restronguet Creek and Cattle Egret and Richards Pipit at Sennen. The Hudsonian Whimbrel at Boat Cove and Rose-coloured Starling at Longrock were reported the following day. A Cattle Egret was a Penpol Creek, Newquay on the 17th. There then followed a three day period with little in the way of new birds to report until the 20th when it appears birders were back in the field! A Great Grey Shrike was seen by one lucky observer at Windmill Farm reserve on the Lizard. A Marsh Harrier and two Hen Harriers were also on the reserve. A juvenile Glaucous Gull was at Padstow and three Jack Snipe were at Marazion Marsh RSPB. A possible Pacific Diver flew past Lizard Point with two Black-throated Divers and a Yellow-legged Gull was on the Hayle Estuary. The Dalmatian Pelican was seen to fly high to the west from Restronguet Creek and as far as we know this was the last sighting of the bird. There was one reported recently in Germany, which could be our bird making its way back? Let’s hope so, despite its unknown origin, it has been a fantastic addition to our ornithological year attracting birders from across the UK and Europe and getting lots of attention in the media too!
An Iceland Gull was a nice find by David Gibbs at St Ives on the 21st and three Short-eared Owls were at Bartinney Downs on that date. Another Dusky Warbler and three Yellow-browed Warblers were trapped and ringed at Nanjizal on the 23rd and a probable Richard’s Pipit flew over Nanquidno Valley on the 25th. An American Golden Plover flew over Bosistow Lane, Polgigga and two Slavonian Grebes were off Jubilee Pool, Penzance. Nearby, a Black-necked Grebe was at Drift. Three Jack Snipe and a male Hen Harrier were at Rosenannon Downs. The remainder of the month was predictably quiet. Divers and Grebe numbers began to increase with all regular species recorded in Mounts Bay and Carbis Bay. The Green-winged Teal and Hudsonian Whimbrel remained at their respective sites and Black Redstart reports increased. A House Martin at Land’s End on the 30th was an unusually late report and three Yellow-browed Warblers were trapped and ringed at ………….Penryn! Nice to catch a few away from the Nanjizal Warbler magnet!
(c) Paul Freestone 2016