Seawatching in Cornwall – Late Summer

An Introduction to Seawatching in Cornwall –  Late Summer 

  1. Where to go

  2. When to go

  3. Seawatching – the basics

As the first of the summer storms start to batter the Cornish coastline we are now into that time of year when many keen birders around the country start to turn their attention to the iconic headlands of the South West, and Cornwall in particular, with the allure of the ‘big two’ shearwaters and the hope of something rarer proving an irresistible draw …

Cory’s Shearwater – Brian Field

Cory’s Shearwater and Great Shearwater are both regular visitors to the warmer waters of the Bay of Biscay further to the south west and the western approaches but are difficult to catch up with anywhere in the British Isles in season. Even in Cornwall, away from a handful of sites and in anything less than ideal conditions, they are not at all guaranteed – and even then it seems to be down to luck with other factors at play.

So, for the chance of large shears and the hope of a rarer seabird, firstly aim for the far west of Cornwall…

 

 

… Continue reading the Full Article Here

 

djc

Monday 31st July 2017

Egloshayle: 1 Cattle Egret this morning flying towards Clapper Marshes. (D Julian)

Walmsley Sanctuary (Members only): 14 Glossy Ibis. (C Selway) Also 4 Cattle Egret and 2 Brown Hare. (P Roseveare)

Porthgwarra: 05:45-13:00 3-4 Sooty Shearwater, 7-8 Cory’s Shearwater, steady but unspectacular movement of Manx Shearwater, regular Storm Petrel, 1 Arctic Skua. Also 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth by the coast path on arrival. (J Turner)

Pendeen Watch: 08:00-08:45 Moderate passage of Manx Shearwater, 2 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 4 Black-headed Gull. (A Hartley) PM: Usual feeding movement of hundreds of Manx Shearwaters. At about 15:00-15:20 c75 Manx Shearwater were seen to be feeding on a bait ball herded by common dolphins. I have often seen Gannets and gulls exploiting bait balls of cetaceans but never Manx Shearwaters before. Assume only sandeels involved as passing Gannets ignored them. Hard to know how many dolphins, but five seen at surface together. They stayed near to shore in the area for an hour before moving east. (R Phillips)

Pendeen: 4 Raven, 1 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard, 8 Meadow Pipit, 1 Rock Pipit. (A Hartley)

Geevor Tin Mine: 3 Wheatear (at least 2 juveniles). (A Hartley)

Newlyn, Coombe River: 1 Dipper opposite St Peter’s Church. (S Grose)

Marazion, Varfell Farm: 2 juv Green Woodpecker feeding on ground insects in Agapanthus fields. (S Grose)

St Gothian Sands LNR: 3 adult Tufted Duck and 7 juveniles, 3 juvenile Shelduck, 1 Curlew, 11 Greylag Goose, 1 Mediterranean Gull with 15 Black-headed Gull. (S Grose)

Drift Reservoir: 7 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, 4 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 136 Canada Goose, 1 Greylag Goose, 6 hybrid geese, 1 Kingfisher, 10 Swift. (D Flumm)

Siblyback Reservoir: Hobby, Common Sandpiper, 6 Shoveler and 3 Dunlin which flew low over the reservoir heading SW. (P Phillips)

Penwithick: 3 Magpie, 2 Chaffinch, 2 Blue Tit, 2 Goldfinch, 5 Jackdaw, 3 Woodpigeon, 1 Siskin. (K Bowers)

Magpie – Kevin Bowers

Jackdaw – Kevin Bowers

Chaffinch – Kevin Bowers

Wood Pigeon – Kevin Bowers

Roseland, Towan beach: 7.30pm today Small mixed flock of feeding waders on strandline and rocky pools :-  14 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin, 6 Turnstone. (D Hall)

Newquay, Trevithick Manor Farm: 2 Barn Owl at 23:00. (S Grose)

djc/cjb

Sunday 30th July 2017

St Ives seawatch 06:54 – 08:30: 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Storm Petrel, 1 Arctic Skua, 2500 Manx Shearwater. (L Langley)

St Buryan,Tater-du Lighthouse 06:15-09:45: 2 Great Shearwater, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 3 Balearic Shearwater, 42 Storm Petrel.

Porthgwarra 05:30 – 13:00 hrs: 4 Wilson’s Petrel, 130+ Storm Petrel, 4 Great Shearwater, 2 Cory’s Shearwater, 3 Balearic Shearwater, 7 Sooty Shearwater, 4 Great Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 10 Puffin, 2 Teal, 50 Common Scoter. (S. Rogers, B. Mellow, M. Elliott, M. Ahmad et al) Additionally 4 more Balearic Shearwater, 2 more Sooty Shearwater, 5 Great Skua, 2 Arctic Tern. (R Veal) 05:30 – 20:30 (15 hr seawatch). Totals incl all observers, of which there were many in the morning, dwindling to 3 by dusk. 3, probably 4 Wilson’s Petrel (07:18-07:25, 07:48-07:52, 08:18-08:19, 11:17?); 144 Storm Petrel, 1000s Manx Shearwater, 7 Great Shearwater, 2 Cory’s Shearwater (10:29, 12:09), 10 Sooty Shearwater, 8 Balearic Shearwater, 1000s Gannet, frequent Fulmar, 6 Great Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 1 ad w Sabine’s Gull (18:50), 1 Black-headed Gull, 3 Mediterranean Gull (ad, ss, juv) 24 Kittiwake, 2 Common Tern, 2  Arctic Tern, 10 Guillemot, 21 Puffin, 2 Teal, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Dunlin, 1 Oystercatcher, also 2+ Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Choughs. (I Lakin)

Pentire Point: possible Wilson’s Petrel past at 10:50

Sennen Cove: 16 Mediterranean Gulls (inc.12 juvs. One with green colour ring left leg R2AJ or 82AJ) (J Hawkey)

Trevose Head: Thousands of Manx Shearwaters 07.15-08.00 All headed west. (J Turner)

Par beach pool: 2 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Barnacle Goose still present. (S Grose)

Porth Reservoir, Newquay: 8 Great Crested Grebe, including one with 3 juveniles, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Dipper on river below dam wall. (S Grose)

Newquay, Towan Head: 1 m Common Scoter just offshore and 1 Juvenile Wheatear. (D Grose)

Penwithick : 11 House Sparrow, 4 Long-Tailed Tit, 3 Blue Tit, 4 Goldfinch, 6 Chaffinch, 2 Robin, 3 Dunnock, 2 Greenfinch, 2 Great Tit, 1 Coal Tit. (K.Bowers)

Goldfinch, Kevin Bowers

Blue Tit, Kevin Bowers

Great Tit, Kevin Bowers

Chaffinch, Kevin Bowers

Coal Tit, Kevin Bowers

Long-tailed Tit, Kevin Bowers

Pendeen: 5 Raven, 2 Chough, 1 Kestrel, steady passage of Manx Shearwaters past the Watch this morning at about 70 per minute. (A Hartley)

Hayle Estuary RSPB Reserve: 1 juv. Mediterranean Gull, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Black Swan. (A Hartley)

djc + tdm

Saturday 29th July 2017

Gwennap Head 05:55 – 08:30: 1 Wilson’s Petrel north at 08:08, 2/3 mile out, 65 Storm Petrel, 7+ Great Shearwater, 2 unidentified large shearwaters, 9 Balearic Shearwater, 4 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Arctic Skua, 2 Great Skua, 1 Pomarine Skua, 5 Arctic Tern, 2 Common Scoter, 1 Turnstone, 9 Puffin. (B Steel) Also reported were 1 Wilson’s Petrel past at 12:30, a probable Barolo Shearwater at 14:30 and 82 Storm Petrel between 06:00 & 15:00.

Mermaid II mini pelagic from Penzance: 4 Wilson’s Petrel, 60 Storm Petrel, Cory’s Shearwater, 5 Great Sheatwater, 2 Sooty Shearwater and 1 Yellow-legged Gull. For details of future trips phone Adrian on 07901 731201 (M Ahmad – photos, T Blunden – photos)

Mashuq Ahmad Mashuq Ahmad Mashuq Ahmad
Mashuq Ahmad Mashuq Ahmad Mashuq Ahmad
Tony Blunden Tony Blunden Tony Blunden
Tony Blunden Tony Blunden Tony Blunden

Rame Head: Wilson’s Petrel reported at 10:20.

Newquay, Pentire: 9000 Manx Shearwater, 3 Balearic Shearwater, 4 Storm Petrel, 2 Common Sandpiper, 8 Whimbrel, 600 Gannet, with 4 Swift south over the Manx line. (G Murray) Newquay, Towan Head: Good Manx Shearwater passage c 08:30 am 100- 200 per min. Also many Gannets, Ocean Sunfish off point. (M Lammas)

Swanpool: 30 Common Swift, 10 Swallow, 2 House Martin, Green Woodpecker, Buzzard. Offshore: 1 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Little Egret, 1 Storm Petrel sp. (distant), but very little passage otherwise. (D Chaney)

North Cliffs: Feeding frenzy scores of Gannet, hundreds of Manx Shearwater and a few Common Dolphin. (S Taylor)

Hayle Estuary RSPB: 1 2s Mediterranean Gull, 1 Greenshank, 4 Black Swan. (L Langley) Ryan’s Field RSPB: 2 Sandwich Tern, 32 Med Gull, 80 Black-headed Gull, 40 Curlew, 8 Whimbrel, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron (D Flumm, F Smith) Lelant Water RSPB: 7 Little Egret, 2 Mute & 1 Black Swan, 5 Shelduck, 6 Mallard (D Flumm, F Smith)

Marazion Beach:18 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, 35 Sanderling, 5 Turnstone (D Flumm, F Smith)

Lizard Point (06:30-13:00): 2 Wilson’s Petrel, 36 Great Shearwater, 195 Storm Petrel, 23 Balearic Shearwater, 38 Sooty Shearwater, 5600 Manx Shearwater, 4 Arctic Skua,  1 Great Skua, 1 Common Tern, 2 Arctic Tern, 24 Puffin, 12 Guillemot, 8 Razorbill, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Redshank, 1 Swift, 14 Common Scoter, 2 Oystercatcher. (I Maclean, T Blunden, J Foster, J. Selby et al)

djc + tdm + dkp

Seawatching in Cornwall – Part 1) Late Summer

Seawatching in Cornwall – Part 1) Late Summer

  1. Where to go

  2. When to go

  3. Seawatching – the basics

It is at this time of year that many birdwatchers around the county turn their attention to the coastal headlands of the south west, Cornwall especially, as a prelude to the first of the autumn gales battering the coast,.with the allure of the ‘big two’ shearwaters drawing and the hope of finding or seeing something rarer …

Both Cory’s Shearwater and Great Shearwater, regular visitors to the warmer waters of the Bay of Biscay further to the south west and the western approaches are difficult to catch up with anywhere in the British Isles in season, and even in Cornwall away from a handful of sites and imperfect conditions (or so it used to be, has all that changed?!) …

… Continue reading the Full Article Here

Friday, 28th July 2017

Next Mini Pelagic: this Saturday 5-8pm with Martin Elliott on Mermaid2  from Penzance. £25 pp. Contact Mermaid direct on 07901 731201

Porthgwarra seawatch 05:35 – 10:35: 1 Wilson’s Petrel (09:10) ,73 Cory’s Shearwater, 22 Great Shearwater, 3 Balearic Shearwater, 24 Sooty Shearwater, 60 European Storm Petrel. 05.35 – 19.55: 89 Great Shearwater, 129 Cory’s Shearwater, 9 Balearic Shearwater, 59 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Wilson’s Petrel,  4 Arctic Skua, 9 Great Skua, 20 Puffin and 350 Storm Petrel. (P Marshall, D Pointon et al.)

Gwennap Head 06:00 – 11:00:  62+ Cory’s Shearwater, 12+ Great Shearwater, 2 Balearic Shearater, 18 Sooty Shearwater, 6 Bonxie, 127 Storm Petrel, 1 Roseate Tern,1 Arctic Skua, 1 possible Wilson’s Petrel, 5 Common Dolphin, 2 Bottle-nose Dolphin (B Steel)

Lizard Point 17:00 – 18:40: 1 Wilson’s Petrel, 6 Great Shearwater, 4 Sooty Shearwater. (I Maclean) 13.10 – 18.35: 2, poss 3, Wilson’s Petrel, c40 Great Shearwater, c20 Cory’s Shearwater, c20 Sooty Shearwater, c10 Balearic Shearwater and 150 Storm Petrel. (L Langley)

Tater-du lighthouse, Lamorna 06:25 – 10:30: 16 Cory’s Shearwater, 10 Great Shearwater, 18 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 38 Storm Petrel, 4 Bonxie, 6 Puffin, 8 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill. (M McKee)

Hayle Estuary RSPB: 2+ juv Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover, 28 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank on Lelant Saltings. (R Veal) 4 juv Yellow-legged Gull (photos of 2 below) . (M Halliday) Ryan’s Field: 5 Common Sandpiper. (Sennen Cove Birdwatching)

Yellow-legged Gull – M Halliday

Kingsmill Lake: 2, Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Mediterranean Gull (1 juv), 1 Dunlin, 19 Greenshank. (M.Beer)

Downderry: first watch 05:55-08:25 yielded c280 Manx Shearwaters, 44 Balearic Shearwaters, a Great Skua, 5 Kittiwakes, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Common Scoters and a Whimbrel. Second watch produced one Cory’s Shearwater, c1000 Manx Shearwaters, 39 Balearic Shearwaters, 19 Kittiwakes and an Arctic Skua. All birds flying west.

RSPB Scillonian lll wildlife cruise sightings – Penzance to Wolf Rock: 86 Gannet, 108 Manx Shearwater, 7 Fulmar, 5 Guillemot, 14 Storm Petrel, 1 Great, 2 Cory’s and 5 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Harbour Porpoise and 4 Common Dolphin. Wolf Rock to Penzance: 186 Gannet, 458 Manx Shearwater, 7 Fulmar and 4 Storm Petrel. Wolf Rock to Scilly: 27 Gannet, 99 Manx Shearwater, 12 Fulmar, 6 Storm Petrel, 2 Sooty, 4 Cory’s and 6 Great Shearwater, 8 Common Dolphin and 1 Ocean Sunfish. Scilly to Wolf Rock: 98 Gannet,68 Manx Shearwater, 1 Fulmar, 1 Sooty and 1 Cory’s Shearwater and 6 Common Dolphin.  (S Hack and DA Conway)

Penzance Bus station: 2 Common Scoter, 2 Sandwich Tern, 6 Mediterranean Gull. (P St Pierre)

Mousehole (20:15 – 21:45): 1 Great Shearwater, 5 Arctic Skua, 3 Great Skua, 2 Storm Petrel,  Manx Shearwater (c60 per minute), 1 Common Sandpiper. (P St Pierre, M K Ahmad)

Newlyn, Sandy Cove: 1 winter plumage Great Northern Diver. (P Smale)

djc + tdm

Thursday 27th July 2017

Porthgwarra seawatch 05:45-12:00: 4 Great Shearwater, 2 Cory’s Shearwater, 2 Balearic Shearwater, 21 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Great Skua, 10 Puffin, 4 Razorbill, 8 Guillemot, 7 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 30 Storm Petrel, 9 Chough. Also 3+ Harbour Porpoise, Ocean Sunfish. (B Steel, DK Parker, LGR Evans et al) 15:00-19:40: 28 Cory’s Shearwater, 9 Great Shearwater, 12 Sooty Shearwater, 4 Balearic Shearwater, Leatherback Turtle and 20 European Storm Petrel.

Cape Cornwall: 6 Sooty Shearwater past 09:00-11:00 with c5000 Manx and 7 Whimbrel. (N Wheatley)

Marazion Marsh RSPB: 12 Mallard, 1 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Coot and 12 Moorhen plus 2 recently fledged chicks on Longrock Pool. (DK Parker)

Marazion Beach (evening): 9 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover (1juv), 1 Turnstone, 2 Mediterranean Gull (ad & 2cy). (J Hawkey)

Penlee Point Seawatch 08:00-12:00: 1000+ Manx Shearwater west, 1 Storm Petrel, 1 Kittiwake,Gannet in numbers, 11 Guillemot, 3m Scoter, 4 Mediterranean Gull. (C Buckland, M Beer)

Pentire: 7000 Manx Shearwater, 2 Cory’s Shearwater, 1 Great Shearwater, 6 Storm Petrel,  37 Whimbrel, 16 Common Scoter, 2 Common Sandpiper plus two Sunfish in 3 hours am. (G Murray)

Mermaid Mini Pelagic from Penzance: 2 Wilson’s Petrel, 2 Cory’s Shearwater, 2 Great Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, 30 Storm Petrel, Yellow-legged Gull and 1 Great Skua and 1 Arctic Skua. (M Elliot et al.)

  • Great Shearwater, Brian Field

Great Shearwater, Steve Rogers

Storm Petrel, Steve Rogers

Wilson’s Petrel, Mashuq Ahmad

Wilson’s Petrel, Mashuq Ahmad

Wilson’s Petrel, Mashuq Ahmad

Cory’s Shearwater, Mashuq Ahmad

Hayle Estuary RSPB, estuary: 2 Black Swan, 1 Little Egret. Ryan’s Field: 2 Grey Heron, 2 Little Egret, 4 Common Sandpiper, 4 Swallow. (K.Bowers)  5 Australian Black Swan, 88 Eurasian Curlew, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 262 Herring Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull (first-summer). (L Evans)

Black Swan, Kevin Bowers

Little Egret, Kevin Bowers

Common Sandpiper, Kevin Bowers

Middle Amble nr Wadebridge:  3 Cattle Egret feeding with cattle off public footpath from bridge, before carpark.  Walmsley Sanctuary: 1 Cattle Egret. (M Lammas)

Port Isaac, Treharrock Manor: 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatch, 3 Coal Tit, 7 Siskin, 9 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk. (S grose)

Roseland: 1 Hobby distressing Barn Swallows over Ruan Lanihorne church today 11.30 am. (D Hall)

pt dkp tdm