The key question is how did it find its way to west Cornwall? One will never know for sure. One theory is that it could have hooked up with migrating Red-footed Falcons coming out of Africa and wandered with them in to western Europe. Given the high number of vagrant Red-foots in the UK alone, its a plausible theory.
The record is the first for Cornwall and only the second for Britain, following a male in Yorkshire at Tophill Low from 14th Sept to 15th Oct 2008. This bird was misidentified as a Red-footed Falcon throughout its stay and was only identified retrospectively in photos.
The species breeds in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China before migrating in large flocks across India and over the Arabian Sea to winter in Southern Africa. The route that they take from Africa back to their breeding grounds is as yet unclear. It was earlier treated as a subspecies of the red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus) and was known as Eastern Red-footed Falcon.
Completely unexpectedly, the bird was re found on Monday morning (17th July, ten days after it was last seen), by Jean Lawman in the St Buryan area. She was reasonably sure this was the same bird that she had seen many photos of. A phone call to John Swann led to Royston and John Ryan checking it out. After some searching it was refound and confirmed at 12.35, again at Crean with two Hobby's at 13.05, then back at the Crows-an-Wra substation at 17.15 til dusk. In the intervening period, there were also two unconfirmed reports at St Levan and St Gennys.
|First summer female Amur Falcon, Steve Rogers.|
|Image by Lee Evans.|
Amur Falcon by John Chapple