May weather started with a light westerly breeze, generally cool. A light south easterly wind on the 8th changed course to south or south-west mid month and was generally quite dull and surprisingly cold. The month end finally saw long periods of sunshine and an easterly airflow.
May opened its account on the 1st with a Red-rumped Swallow at Marazion Marsh. Its the seventh for the Spring in Cornwall. The second Common Nightingale was found at Mawgan Porth following an earlier very showy bird on the Lizard in April. A Hoopoe was heard singing at Nanjizal on the 2nd. An analysis of all the Spring Hoopoe sightings suggests at least 20 different birds have been seen. The only other highlight on Bank Holiday Monday was a Richard's Pipit at Windmill Farm, Lizard.
Returning wader numbers have been very low. One notable absence is Whimbrel. Just three birds were seen on Marazion beach on the 3rd May. This traditional stop-off site normally hosts hundreds in early May. 24 were seen at Cape Cornwall on the 4th.
The fifth Woodchat Shrike of the season was found at Kynance, Lizard on the 4th. The "wintering" Black Guillemot was still lingering off Swanpool/Maenporth and the 2CY Iceland Gull was still in the Sennen area. A Little Ringed Plover flew in off the sea calling at Land's End whilst two more were seen at Devoran. A drake Garganey was also at Devoran on the 4th. The only bird of note on the 5th was a "new" Hoopoe at Polzeath.
The first arrival of Swifts began on the 7th though hardly in large numbers. There were no double figure reports. Bird of the day on the 7th was a singing male Lesser Whitethroat at Long Rock pool. The first week of May must go down as one of the quietest birding periods on record. Every bird family seemed to be woefully short in numbers.
The wind direction changed to easterly on the 8th and favoured a raptor movement. A fresh sprinkling of 2CY, ie non breeding, Red Kites trickled in to the county along with Marazion's second Marsh Harrier, and a handful of Ospreys. The undoubted highlight though was a male Montagu's Harrier, a 3CY bird found at Trewey Common. It most likely relates to a report from Pendeen of a"grey male" on the 2nd. This rare bird of prey is now extinct as a British breeder. It last bred in Cornwall in the '70s. To put it in context, this is just my third Cornwall record.
|Montagu's Harrier 3CY / Adult, Trewey Common, May 2022, picture courtesy Alan James.
The popular Montagu's Harrier at Trewey continued to show well on the 9th and 10th. A Red Kite and Black Kite flew east directly above the harrier on the 10th. Black Kite is on the increase with annual county sightings the norm. This could be due to Black Kites associating with the adult red's arriving from the continent in late March and early April. There have been several reports of Black Kite across the county. I have now seen a Black Kite in each of the last four years and found two of them.
|picture courtesy Peter Clement.
|Black Kite, Trewey, May 2022, pic courtesy Sam Williams.
|Golden Oriole (library pic by S. Rogers)
|Roller, Clowance Estate, pic by Mike McKee.