Thursday 22 December 2016

Eastern Black Redstart images from Mousehole this morning

Eastern Black Redstart, Rock Pool, Moushole. Nikon D5, 500mm F4.

I took these shots this morning in stunning light. These shots are probably the brightest that I've seen so far; the sun really has brought out the orange tones nicely.

Monday 19 December 2016

Eastern Black Redstart at Mousehole

A male Eastern Black Redstart was found on Sunday 18th December by Glynnis and Linton Procter on the coastal footpath by the rock pool.  It is the first Cornwall record of this form.  It follows other records this autumn in the Midlands and North East of England and Lothian, Scotland.  The first record for Britain was at Dungeness, Kent, in November 1981.

Quote from AW Birder's blog: "Eastern Black Redstart is a long distance migrant from its central Asian breeding grounds to wintering areas in central India west to northeast Africa. Its breeding and wintering distribution is comparable to species that occur regularly in northwest Europe, including Desert Wheatear and Isabelline Shrike (Slack 2009), both of which seem to have been recorded in fairly decent numbers within the UK and other areas within northwest Europe this autumn." More info here.

Eastern Black Redstart, Mousehole.  Image courtesy Brian Field.

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Monday 31 October 2016

Franklin's Gull at Hayle Estuary, Cornwall

An adult Franklin's Gull was found on Wednesday 26th October by Jon Mycock and Dan Eva. I saw it on Sunday in the fields behind Tempest Printing, Carbis Bay and then saw it well on the estuary.  It is the 9th record for Cornwall, the last record being an adult or second winter on the Gannel in Nov 2005.  A first winter bird was also on Hayle Estuary from the 1st-2nd Nov 2005. (There has also been reports of Franklins Gull at Siblyback and the Camel in this first winter period though I don't know any dates).

Saturday 22 October 2016

Isabelline Wheatear image and video

One of my favourite Isabelline Wheatear images.

Video of Isabelline Wheatear by Mr John Chapple.

Snow Buntings at Godrevy

Four Snow Buntings were found last week in and around the Godrevy head area. As always, this species is very confiding and also very photogenic.  Snow Bunting is a regular passage migrant and winter visitor in small numbers and is usually found on favourite coastal sites.

Friday 21 October 2016

Isabelline Wheatear at Godrevy, Cornwall

Paul Freestone found this stunning Isabelline Wheatear on Godrevy head on 20th October.  This is the second record of the species in the county.  The first was within a whisker of 20 years ago at Church Cove, Lizard. (29th Oct 1996) and seen then by just a handful of birders.  This long overdue species was enjoyed by many birders yesterday as it fed freely across the whole headland.  It follows several other records mainly on the UK east coast and continues the strong easterly theme of birding this Autumn. 

Isabelline Wheatear, Godrevy, October 2016.

Images taken with Nikon D500, 500mm F4, 1.4x Teleconverter.

Monday 17 October 2016

Sparrowhawk eating Woodpigeon

I saw this large female Sparrowhawk devour a Woodpigeon by the side of the road at Kenidjack yesterday.  I photographed the event from the car.  I think it must have been hungry as the pigeon was consumed inside 15 minutes!

Red-eyed Vireo at Porthgwarra

A Red-eyed Vireo was found in the elm trees beside the toilet block at Porthgwarra on Saturday 15th October by visiting French birder Paul-Elie Jay. After quite a bit of searching I saw it at midday on Sunday typically feeding high in the leaf canopy.  As in the states, where they are fairly common, they always associate with smaller passerines and usually lead the flock through the trees.  This is the 27th record of the species in Cornwall with Porthgwarra the top site.  October is the prime month. The last record was in 2013 at Prussia Cove.

Saturday 15 October 2016

Short-toed Lark at St Agnes Head

This bird must be one of the most obliging Short-toed Larks ever.  It was completely oblivious to everyone around it, including dog walkers.  It fed on flower seeds continually in the car park to the west of the coastguard hut. First seen on Thursday it was still present on Saturday.  Its the second record of the species this Autumn and is also only the second one I have ever seen on the Cornish mainland.
This bird is of the western form (south Europe) showing warmth to the plumage tones rather than the greyish Asiatc form.

Short-toed Lark, St Agnes Head, October 2016. (Nikon D500, 500mm F4).

3min Video clip by Mr John Chapple

Monday 26 September 2016

Juv Pectoral Sandpiper at Davidstow Airport

I found this juv Pec Sand on Sunday afternoon with some Ringed Plovers.  As always at this site, if you stay in the car, the waders are very obliging.  This Pec Sand was pretty tame and gave some great views as it fed in the puddles.  I visited the airport on Friday and there was a complete clearout of all waders so I'm assuming that this one is a new bird in, following the heavy rain on Saturday. This is the 8th record of this species this Autumn, in Cornwall.

Taken with Nikon D500, 500mm F4, 1.4x TC, car window mounted.

Monday 19 September 2016

Juv Red-backed Shrike at Porth Loe, Porthgwarra

This is the second Red-backed Shrike that I have seen this Autmn, the first being last week at Nanquidno.  The Porthgwarra bird was quite obliging and allowed everyone some very good views.

Red-backed Shrike, Porth Loe, Porthgwarra, September 2016. Nikon D500, 500mm F4, 1.4xTC. ISO 1000, 1/1250s, F/5.6.

Friday 16 September 2016

Juv Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Davidstow

Juv Buff breasted Sandpiper, taken with Nikon D500, 500mm F4 ISO 12800 !

This is one of my favourite birds and is always a delight to photograph. I took these from the car window.

This is the seventh Buff breast record this Autumn in Cornwall.  It is probably now the commonest Nearctic wader after Pectoral Sandpiper in Cornwall.

Thursday 15 September 2016

1W Whiskered Tern at Argal Dam

This first winter Whiskered Tern was originally found on Tuesday 13th as a Black Tern but re identified from photo's as a Whiskered. It showed well this morning in low light as it fed near the dam end of the res.  This is the 11th record for Cornwall.

Monday 12 September 2016

Images from west Cornwall this weekend

Dotterel at Porthgwarra

Dotterel at Porthgwarra, seen just past the stone wall.
Sanderlings feeding at Marazion beach
Juv Red-backed Shrike by the sunken garden at Nanquidno.(heavy 50% crop).
Juv Lapland Bunting on the footpath leading to the first pool at Porthgwarra.

All images taken with the Nikon D500, 500mm F4 and 1.4x Teleconverter, Tripod mounted.


Saturday 10 September 2016

Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Marazion beach

 Two images of Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Marazion beach; the upper shot was taken last week and the lower image was taken on 12th August last year in exactly the same location.  This is only the second time that I have seen this species on Marazion beach.

Saturday 28 May 2016

Dalmatian Pelican at Drift Reservoir today

I finally caught up with the pelican properly today at Drift and spent some time watching and photographing it.  Whatever its provenance, it is quite some beast, dwarfing the many Canada Geese around it.  The only species uncomfortable with its presence is the Mute Swan, which regularly pushed it around the res. It fed well in the shallows at the back of the NW arm.

It was first found on the 7th May at Gwithian and has been seen just about daily in many places from the Lizard to Lands End.  This bird has also been recorded in Poland in early April, Germany mid April, east France early May and now taken up residency in West Penwith.

Saturday 23 April 2016

Kentish Plovers at Marazion Beach, Cornwall

John Hawkey found a male and female Kentish Plover on Friday 22nd April in overcast conditions on the beach.  A small contingent of Cornish birders assembled in the evening and got decent views in deteriorating weather.  These two are the 69th and 70th records for the county. While this sounds like a healthy number, Kentish Plover have become decidedly rarer in recent years.  I'll stand corrected but I think this is the first sighting since another pair were found in the same location on 10th May 2012.  Another pair were found at nearby Long Rock beach on the 25th May 2009 and yet another pair were found on Lelant Saltings on the 19th April 2009.  The majority of records in Cornwall occur in April and May.

Completely unrelated, but of interest, was a colour ringed Kentish Plover seen at Rye Harbour (East Sussex) on 25th-26th March 2013 and was found to have come from breeding colony in Schleswig-Holstein, the northern most state in Germany. The bird was ringed there in May 2009 and was seen again in the general area the following year.

Male Kentish Plover at Marazion 22nd April 2016. (S Rogers - iPhone digiscoped) 

Male and female Kentish Plover Lelant 19th April 2009 (S Rogers)

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Iberian Chiffchaff at the Lizard, Cornwall

With the change in weather this week to a south easterly bias, the first important "southern"rarity of the Spring was found at Little Treleaver, Lizard by John Foster.  A singing male Iberian Chiffchaff was found on the 11th April, corresponding with another Iberian Chiffchaff in Shropshire. 

The Cornish bird is the county's 8th record.

Previous records:

2000: The first Cornwall record was on the 12th May 2000 at Dunmere Woods, Bodmin. 

2004: A singing male was found at Windmill Farm in May 2004. 

2011: The third was at Kenidjack on 24th April 2011 and again at Nancherrow Farm on 28th April. 

2011: Another singing male was found on Military Road, Rame from 11th-15th May 2011. 

2012: A singing male was found at Kenidjack by the engine shed on the 28th May and was seen by many observers through to mid June. 

2013: A singing male Iberian Chiffchaff was observed near Soap Cove, Kynance, at Jolly Town Farm on the  20th April 2013 and sonograms recorded.  Another male was singing 100 yards south of B3315 at St Loy in woods by the public footpath, though this record hasn't been submitted.

2016: A singing male at Little Treleaver, Lizard 11th April.

To date there are 37 records in Britain and one in Ireland. The species (Phylloscopus ibericus) is endemic to Portugal, Spain and North Africa, west of a line stretching roughly from the western Pyrenees via the mountains of central Spain to the Mediterranean.

Video of the Little Treleaver male singing, courtesy John Chapple.

Monday 4 April 2016

Cornwall continues its purple patch

Cornwall still continues to deliver mega rares this weekend.  Nigel golden b Wheatley stumbled across a white morph Greenland Gyr on Sunday at St Just, only for it to be relocated and perched on the moor at Woon Gumpus.  I managed to see it in flight here, but Brian Mellow and Richard Augarde also saw it at much closer quarters near Men an Tol.  This is the 17th record for Cornwall, the majority occurring in March to April.

If that wasn't cool enough, Nigel also found next day a sub adult Snowy Owl at St Just.  This is just the 3rd record for the species in Cornwall.  The previous records are one at St Columb in 1948 and a well observed first winter bird at Zennor from 21st December 2008.

The weekend just gone also produced a summer plumage Black Guillemot in Falmouth Bay, the UK's first for the year Woodchat Shrike at Windmill farm, Lizard plus a Hoopoe at Polgigga.  In addition, the long staying Pacific Diver was seen on sat 2nd April in Mounts Bay with the Hudsonian Whimbrel found again at Boat Cove on Sunday 3rd.  If anyone finds the Franklin's Gull on the Camel could they let me know?

Snowy Owl at St. Just - image kind courtesy Sam Williams.

The weather chart below gives a hint of where the weekend's birds may be coming from.

Monday 21 March 2016

Avocets at Ryan's Field, Hayle

A couple Avocets dropped in at Ryan's Field, Hayle yesterday (Sunday). They were pretty flighty as they were chased around by a Herring Gull.  At one time they settled in the middle of the estuary, swimming on the high tide.  The stronghold for Avocet in the county is the Tamar complex where they average a good couple hundred wintering birds.  Away from the Tamar they are scarce.  Two or three occasionally winter on the Tresillian River but have been absent this year.  
Breeding numbers both in the UK and in continental Europe have increased since the mid 1970’s with the main UK population being concentrated on the coasts of East Anglia and North Kent. By 2000 the UK breeding population had increased to almost 1000 pairs. A pair successfully bred in Worcestershire in 2003.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Yellow-browed Warbler at St Clement, Truro

I took this shot today of the Yellow-browed Warbler at St Clements, Truro.  Its been present here for three weeks and seems content feeding around the willows.  It was calling a lot today as well.  Two Firecrest and three Chiffchaff, plus a real pale grey Chiffchaff are also still present.

In addition this morning at Pendower, I saw a drake Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, 8 Black-throated Diver, 9 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red necked Grebe and 2 Slavonian Grebe.

Monday 29 February 2016

White-billed Diver at Cape Cornwall

An adult White-billed Diver was found at Cape Cornwall on Thursday 25th February by Nigel Wheatley.  Following a stormy Friday it was re found again on the Saturday and showed well on and off on Sunday.  Whilst too distant for fancy photography, good scope views could be enjoyed as it preened and fed between the Brisons and the Cape Cornwall coastwatch point.

The bird is in moult and has lost its primary flight feathers.  When it originally turned up is anyone's guess.  It might have been there as long as early January, turning up after the big gale on 3rd January when a Ross's Gull was at the Lizard and a Glaucous-winged Gull was found in southern Ireland?

This is the 6th record for Cornwall.  All previous records have occurred in the first winter period.  The first record was in 1967.

1967. April 11th-19th one in Mount's bay off St Michael's Mount.
1985. February 19th. Carlyon Bay, St Austell.  Subsequently seen on several dates between April 6th and 9th. Also reported on June 2nd though this sighting was not accepted by BBRC.
1988.  St Ives Bay. February 8th-22nd.
1998. Sennen Cove. February 19th, one picked up in poor condition and taken to Mousehole Bird Hospital where it died on March 1st.  The skin was sent to the British Museum.
2007. Hayle Estuary and Copperhouse.  February 25th to March 27th.  A well photographed moulting adult.

Of interest, all five divers were also seen on Sunday 28th in the county on the same day.  A well organised day trip in the county at the moment could quite easily tick off White-billed Diver, Pacific Diver, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Lesser Scaup plus a supporting cast of Rose-coloured Starling, Yellow-browed Warbler, Glaucous Gull, Ring-billed Gull, American Herring Gull and Smew! Can't be bad.

Monday 22 February 2016

Yellow-browed Warbler at St. Clement, Truro

Richard Augarde found this Yellow-browed Warbler in the damp sallows 200m south of Tresemple Pool. I saw it yesterday evening along with six Chiffy's and one very pale Chiffchaff.  The exceptionally mild winter has probably helped around half a dozen or so Yellow-browed's overwinter in the county. 

Taken with Nikon D800e, 500mm F4,

Saturday 20 February 2016

Juv Glaucous Gull in Newlyn Harbour

Juv Glaucous Gull showed well today in Newlyn harbour.

Argentatus Herring Gull today at Copperhouse.