Monday, 10 June 2019

Greenish Warbler at Porth Joke and status in Cornwall

Greenish Warbler is a rare vagrant in Cornwall with just eight records up to June 2019. The two  records in 2019 are the first in Spring in Cornwall.  The species breeds in north and eastern Europe and Russia and has expanded its breeding range westwards during the last century. Migrates south east to winter in S. Asia.

1984: Nanquidno, 30th Sep to 1st Oct. Found by Dave Flumm. Paul Semmens, Lawrie Williams, Stuart Hutchings and Graham Hearl were also named as co-finders. It was present for two days and preferred the high canopy of the sycamore tree by the farmhouse with blue windows. It was also seen in the copse by the ford. This individual was by no means an easy ID and several observers of the day considered this to be a Two-barred Greenish.

2000: Kenidjack, 24th Sep. Found by John Swann and T. Whiley. This bird again spent much of the time in the high canopy in the copse part way down the valley.

2008: Pendeen, 16th to 17th Sep. Found by John Foster. This individual was found in the copse around Calartha Farm on the road down to Pendeen Watch. It was highly active and elusive at times. It was occasionally seen in the gardens adjacent to the copse.

2009: Church Cove, Lizard. 28th Oct to 1st Nov. Found by visiting birder Duncan Poyser from Cambs. Initially found at the bottom of the valley near Mariner's Cottage. The bird was highly mobile and could be found in the sycamores and elms in the churchyard as well as the copse at the bottom of the valley. This individual will be long-remembered for its see-saw identification between Green and Greenish. Eventually confirmed by sonogram on the call by Magnus Robb, Ilya Maclean and Hugh Harrop.

2010: Treeve Common, Land's End. 25th-29th Sep. Found by John Chapple.

2017: Millbrook, St Andrew's Street. 23rd-25th Aug.

2019: Lizard Village. 4th June. One seen briefly by Tony Blunden.

2019: Porth Joke, Crantock. 9th June. Singing male in willows below Treago campsite, found by Steve Rowe.
Male Greenish Warbler, Porth Joke 9th June 2019.



Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Black-headed Wagtail at the Lizard

An adult male Black-headed Wagtail was found at the Waterings, Housel Bay, Lizard on Sunday 19th May by Tony Blunden.  It spent all day in the cattle field catching insects.  The record followed a strong easterly air flow directly from Scandinavia.  It was present for just one day.

I have seen a lot of this sub species of Yellow Wagtail abroad in Cyprus, and this bird is one of the purest I have seen.  There was no white in the chin or hint of any supercilium.

A look at past Cornwall records makes this bird the third record.  Several previous records have been rejected on review or just not submitted, see below data kindly supplied by Derek Julian.

Ad male Black-headed Wagtail, Lizard, May 2019


Yearly sightings:

1964 – One at Marazion Marsh 29th June. (After review in 1993 was found as unacceptable by BBRC). [8] [12]

1978 – One at Pentire Farm, Polzeath 5th June. (After review in 1993 was found as unacceptable by BBRC) [9]

1999 – One, male, at Walmsley Sanctuary 11th-12th May. (Evans says present 3 days on about 10th/11th May) [1][2][3][10]

2000 – One at Maer Lake 25th-28th May. (Not submitted to BBRC?) [11]

2010 – One first summer male at Land’s End 29th April to 1st May. [4][5][6]

(2011 – One male at Drift Reservoir 16th September. [14] )

2016 – One female from Land’s End Cycle path 18th May. (Not submitted to BBRC?) [7]

(2019 – One adult male at Housel Bay, Lizard 19th May. [7] )



Site Records:

Camel Estuary

1999 – One male at Walmsley Sanctuary 11th-12th May. [1][2][3][10]

Drift Reservoir

(2011 – One male at Drift Reservoir 16th September. [14] )

Land’s End

2010 – One first summer male 29th April to 1st May. [4][5][6]

(2016 – One female from Land’s End Cycle path 18th May. (Not submitted to BBRC?) [7]

(Lizard

2019 – One adult male at Housel Bay, 19th May. [7] )

(Maer Lake

2000 – One at Maer Lake 25th-28th May. (Not submitted to BBRC?) [11])

(Marazion Marsh

1964 – One at Marazion Marsh 29th June. (After review in 1993 was found as unacceptable by BBRC). [8] [12])

(Pentire Head

1978 – One at Pentire Farm, Polzeath 5th June. (After review in 1993 was found as unacceptable by BBRC) [9])

References
1 – Slack R, Rare Birds Where and When Vol 1, page 129.
2 – Evans LGR, Black-headed Wagtails on Powys, Cornwall and Essex in Rare Birds Vol 5 No 3, page 204
3 – Rogers, MJ and the Rarities Committee, British Birds Vol 93, page 548
4 – Hudson, NAJ and the Rarities Committee, British Birds Vol 104, page 617;
5 – British Birds 109: plate 220
6 – Birding World 23, page 188
7 – CBWPS Website
8 – CBWPS Thirty-fourth Annual Report 1964, page 45.
9 – CBWPS Birds in Cornwall 1978, page 59.
10 – Birds in Cornwall 1999, page 91.
11 – Birds in Cornwall 2000, page 101.
12 – Rogers, MJ and the Rarities Committee, British Birds Vol 87, page 543.
13 – Rogers, MJ and the Rarities Committee, British Birds Vol 93, page 548.
14 – Julian DI, Personal Records.
Reference(s): Birding World 23 (5): 188, photo; N. A. J. Hudson and the Rarities Committee, British Birds 104: 617; British Birds 109: plate 220


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Juv Bohemian Waxwing in Truro

Dan Cole found a juvenile Waxwing in Truro late on Saturday 5th January.  Luckily it was present the following day.  Being the first for the year and generally very scarce in the west country this winter, it was duly ticked by a steady stream of locals. 

Its main source of food were the berries on the small pink sorbus tree next to Malpas House.  It flew across the river occasionally towards Tesco's car park but always found its way back to the pink sorbus.  How Waxwings sniff out such a small haven in a large city defies logic, but they somehow do it.  This bird is a juvenile and shows just one small red spot of "wax" on its secondaries and of course no yellow in the primaries.  That aside, this is still a stunning bird and always attracts attention.

Waxwing, Truro City Centre, January 2019.

Waxwing, Truro City Centre, January 2019. Nikon D850,