Sunday 19 June 2022

Birding highlights in Cornwall September 2021

 September weather started with an easterly to north easterly airflow.  The month ended with strong south west to north westerly winds.

Little Stints were unusually plentiful with a group of nine on Hayle Estuary.  Elsewhere smaller groups of two's and three's could be found.  The influx was mirrored nationally with a significant number of Little Stints also arriving in the UK during the first week of September.  More info can be found HERE in this Birdguides link.

Little Stint at Hayle Estuary (Steve Rogers)

Wrynecks were recorded at the normal coastal sites including Land's End loop, Porthgwarra, Pendeen and Polpry. A Red-backed Shrike appeared at Boscreggan on the 3rd (2nd Autumn record) and an Ortolan Bunting was trapped in the nets at Nanjizal.  This species has recently become a sought-after county rarity, eg in 2019 there no reports at all.  Whinchats and Pied Flycatchers continued to be found in the coastal valleys.  Three juv Spotted Redshank at Stithians Res. were also notable.

The first decent rarity of September was a Greenish Warbler, appearing on the 5th at St Levan.  This is just the 10th record for Cornwall.  The wandering Glossy Ibis appeared at St Gothians on the 6th.

Flycatchers have been ever present from the end of August, but a sizable fall occurred on the 7th on the north coast.  Trevose recorded 49 Spotted and 8 Pied,  Kenidjack 33 Spotted and 3 Pied and Botallack another 4 Spotted and a single Pied.  Numerous other sightings of singles were also reported.  The true number across the county will never be known but suffice to say, this was the largest fall for many years.  A Dotterel was also found at Park Head on the 7th.

Spotted Flycatcher, Pistil Meadow, Lizard.

A large fall of passerines occurred on Wednesday 8th Sept with at least 12 Wrynecks, one Red-backed Shrike (Cadgwith) and another Wood Warbler at Pendeen. A Bonelli's warbler unassigned to species level was found at Land's End on the 9th.

The wind turned westerly overnight on the 10th.  At least seven adult Sabine's Gulls including a flock of four were seen off Pendeen and another at St Agnes. The largest movement of 17 Arctic Skuas was also recorded so far this season. 

Drift migrants continued to be found on the 11th with a Red-backed Shrike appearing at Sancreed.  This unusual location was just reward for Dave Flumm's perseverance.  It was Dave's 174th record from his house. The astonishing number of Wrynecks to be found continued, with at least a dozen on coastal headlands. Osprey continue to be recorded daily from Ruan Lanihorne over the last five days.  An adult Honey Buzzard flew north over Mullion (11th).

Wryneck at Pendeen 17th Sept 2021.

Three Glossy Ibis' appeared at Hayle Estuary on the 13th with another also at Drift. Another or same was found the following day at Foxhole.  An Ortolan and Nightingale were found at the Lizard on the 14th.  The juv Red-backed Shrike at Sancreed was still present for its fourth day.  A Dotterel was heard calling over Porthgwarra.  The first juv. Rose-coloured Starling of the season was found at the traditional site at Land's End complex.  A juv. Barred Warbler appeared at Portherras on the 16th.  

A change of weather overnight resulted in the first (?) Pectoral Sandpiper of the season at Carnsew. A Wilson's Petrel was seen for three minutes at East Pentire on the 17th.  This species has been non existent on sea watches this year so a well viewed bird was a welcome find for Steve Rowe.  A Pomarine Skua and Long-tailed Skua were seen off Pendeen.

The long staying Red-backed Shrike finally departed Sancreed on the 21st after eleven days in the same hedge.  It must have found something nice to feed on!  The juv Rosy Starling was still in the Sennen area on the 22nd.

A flock of two Pectoral Sandpipers were found at Stithians Res. on the 24th.  Another was seen at Loveny, Colliford.  So far this Autumn, Nearctic waders have been woefully short on supply.  Two juv Spoonbills put in a brief appearance at Marazion with one remaining until the month-end.

The wind turned north westerly overnight on the 28th.  A reasonable seabird movement of 23 Arctic Skuas, one Long-tailed Skua, two Leach's Petrels, Black Tern and 117 Balearic Shearwaters passed Pendeen on the 29th.  The month ended with more strong westerly winds and a decent haul of Balearic Shearwaters, eg 126 at Pendeen on the 29th.

Bird of the month: Greenish Warbler at St Levan
Runners up: Unusually high numbers of Little Stint, Wryneck, flycatchers and a single Wilson's Petrel.

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