Saturday, 22 September 2018

Lesser Yellowlegs at Tringaville

On Tuesday 18th September, a juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) was found by Steve Votier at the high tide roost at Tallacks Creek, Devoran.  This record is approx. the 48th for Cornwall.  A Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)  and a Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) were also in the area.  The Yellowlegs was last seen on Thursday 20th.

This site is fast becoming a well known roosting site for waders at high tide.  It is particularly favourable to tringa family of waders.  Throughout July high numbers of over one hundred Redshanks used the site for a stop over.  On Thursday 26th July, a long awaited Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis, first for Cornwall) appeared at exactly the same spot as the Yellowlegs.

So, I'm not sure if the good people of Devoran will want their village renamed, but Tringaville seems quite apt.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Melodious Warbler at the Lizard

An obliging Melodious Warbler was found on Friday 7th Sept by Mark Pass in the area of the waterboard pumping station near Caerthillian.  It was regularly calling a soft churring sound and was quite showy at times. Several other decent drift migrants were in the immediate area including Red-backed Shrike and Nightingale.

Just under 170 sightings have been recorded in Cornwall, the majority in September.  Porthgwarra is the top site with 58 records alone.

The image below was taken on Sunday 9th by myself.  The video is by John Chapple.


Thursday, 6 September 2018

Glossy Ibis at Croft Pascoe, Lizard

A confiding first summer Glossy Ibis spent a week at Croft Pascoe pool.  First found on Friday 17th August, it remained on and off until the 25th August.  The water level at the pool is at its lowest for many years and clearly attractive to this lone bird.  Glossy Ibis has been increasing in frequency over the last decade, no doubt linked to the increases seen in Spain since 2006.
 


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Guillemots and Razorbills off Pendeen

Below are some images of mixed auks moving west off Pendeen late last year.  They mostly include Guillemot, but there are also a few Razorbills.  Pendeen is an incredible place to bird from but in the big gales, the kit needs to be completely sealed from the excessive spray.  I wouldn't encourage getting too close to the rocks either.  Last night (16th Jan), the storm reached 41 kph with 8.2 m wave height!





Northern Gannet climbs a massive sea wall at Pendeen.

Storm Eleanor brings scarce gulls (article for Sunday Independent 14th January)

Following Storm Eleanor last week, several scarce gulls have been recorded in the region. The prize Arctic finds such as Ross's Gull and even Ivory Gull failed to materialise in the west country but several Glaucous and Iceland Gulls appeared at the normal coastal sites.  One very confiding Iceland Gull has spent a few days at the flood meadow at Marazion Marsh.  These large "white-wingers" fluctuate annually in numbers based on the Arctic temperature and Atlantic gales. 

Glaucous Gull, 2nd Cal Yr at Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall, Jan 2018

Ad Iceland Gull, Newlyn Harbour, Jan 2018.

2nd Cal Yr Iceland Gull, Newlyn Harbour, Cornwall, Jan 2018.


A bonus juvenile Ring-billed Gull was a surprise find on Trenance boating Lake, Newquay last week.  Cornwall averages one or two sightings annually.  They most likely originate from Canada or northern USA.  A rarer record would have been a juvenile Bonaparte's Gull in Mount's Bay  but sadly the views were not good enough to clinch the identification.  The regular wintering adult Bonaparte's Gull has returned to Exmouth, Devon. (6th Jan).  

Ring-billed Gull, 2nd Calendar Year (2CY) at Trenance, Newquay




Keeping with the American theme, the two over-wintering Surf Scoters at Porthpean bay (St Austell) were joined by a third male bird following Storm Eleanor.  The supporting cast of a scarce Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck make a necessary visit to the site. 

Hawfinch's continue to show well across the region.  The unlikely favoured places are graveyards.  Hawfinch feeds on berries and the graveyard yew trees seem attractive.  Five birds have been spotted at Egloshayle cemetery, two at Feock church, Devoran, Saltash and various sites in West Penwith.  Hawfinch irruptions are rare on this scale.  Now is your chance to see one.

Devon birders will be delighted to hear this week that the Elegant Tern seen at Dawlish Warren in May 2002 has now been added to the UK official list, taking the total to 615 species.  Elegant Tern is a Pacific species, breeding in south west USA and Mexico.  Recent research has shown beyond doubt that Elegant Terns are occurring this side of the States and even breeding in the Western Palearctic. 

On the flip side, Cornish birders will be disappointed to see that the Royal Tern, also an American species, has been removed from the archive.  The record, which dates back to September 1971, has been reviewed by the Rarities Committee and is now considered unproven.

The Snowy Owl which appeared in Cornwall last month has been relocated on St Martins, Scilly.  The world status of Snowy Owl has recently been reclassified as "Vulnerable," so cherish the memories as this species will become more difficult to find.  On the other hand, Cattle Egret numbers are increasing with a maximum count of 15 near Manaccan, Lizard. This species looks set to follow its congener, the Little Egret in becoming a regular fixture in the south west.