Saturday 16th December 2017

Hayle Estuary RSPB: Spoonbill still present at 10:45. (M Costa)

Dozmary Pool: Drake Lesser Scaup still.

Whipsiderry: 6 Corn Bunting in fields above beach, 2 Peregrine Falcon, 2 Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipits, Linnets, 2 Raven. (S Grose)

Men-an-Tol/Watch Croft: 40+ Starling, 12 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 1 Snipe. (P Taylor, H Mitchell)

Argal Reservoir: 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Tawny Owl (D Eva)

College Reservoir: 90 Tufted Duck, 66 Wigeon, 1 Gadwall, 1 Shoveler, 8 Pochard, 56 Coot (D Eva)

Stithians Reservoir: 2 Pintail, 1 imm. drake Scaup, 4 Goldeneye, 3 Pochard (D Eva) 4 Pintail (2f 2imm m), 5 Goldeneye, 4 Pochard, 2 Firecrest (Southern Hide and NE corner), 1 Common Sandpiper (below the dam), 39 Little Grebe, 10 Snipe.(D Chaney)

Penzance, Lidden area: 1 Black Redstart on rooftop, also 2+ Ivy Bee feeding on Rosemary. (T Mills)

Ivy Bee, Tony Mills

Newlyn, Sandy Cove: 3+ Chiffchaff (2 tristis-type), 1 Water Rail, 1 Kingfisher, 1 m Blackcap, 2+ Firecrest, 1 Goldcrest. (L Proctor, T Mills) Also 1 Redshank in harbour. (T Mills)

Chiffchaff, Tony Mills

Chiffchaff, Tony Mills

Plain-an-Gwarry: 2 Mistle Thrush, c50 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 2 Jay and 1 Goldcrest. (DK Parker)

Lower Tamar Lake: 3 Little Egret, 5 Grey Heron. 2 Cormorant, 30 Goosander 11m 19f, 12 Great Crested Grebe, 7 Gadwall, 6 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Willow Tit, 3 Marsh Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 4 Greenfinch. (R Mudge)

Newquay, Towan Head: 10 Common Gull feeding on the surface of the sea, 3 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Black Redstart behind pumping station. (S Grose)


Friday 15th December 2017

Newlyn: 1 Slavonian Grebe still off Sandy Cove at 09:25. (L Proctor)

St Martin, Chenhale Farm: 1 Red Kite. (M Nattrass)

Walmsley Sanctuary: 1 Great White Egret (at 08:30 flew over reserve from the estuary towards Chapel Amble), also, 9 Pintail, 35 Snipe (1 flock in flight), 7 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, 50+ Teal, 50+ Wigeon, 200+ Canada Geese, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 50+ Black-tailed Godwit, 100+ Curlew, 1 Sparrowhawk, 8 Red-legged Partridge, 1 Water Rail (heard only), 30+ Lapwing. (A Piper)

Gillan Creek: 1w Glaucous Gull, 1 dark-bellied Brent Goose, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Common Gull, 16 Redshank, 1 Kingfisher, 7 Curlew. (D Collins)

Porthallow: 2 Firecrest, female Blackcap. (D Collins)

Falmouth, off Swanpool Beach: 2 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Whimbrel. (J St Ledger)

Penzance garden: 3 Blackcap (1m 2f). (R Phillips)

St Merryn: 1 Peregrine hunting feral pigeons. Successful catch then headed back towards Harlyn Bay. (R Hughes)

St Enodoc golf course: 2 Yellowhammer. (S Grose)

Hayle Estuary RSPB, Ryan’s Field: 1 Spoonbill again.

Kingsmill Lake: 1 Glossy Ibis.

Lizard Point: 1 Snow Bunting, 1 first-winter Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Great Skua, 5 Black-throated Diver, 2500 Kittiwake. (I Maclean)

Church Cove:1 Siberian Chiffchaff, 2 Firecrest. (I Maclean)

Cadgwith: 20 Mediterranean Gull. (I Maclean)

Looe, Hannafore: 2 Slavonian Grebe, 1 Long-tailed Duck. (P Sharp)

Downderry: Firecrest, Water Pipit and Black Redstart present this afternoon. (A Payne)

Treraven Meadows: 3 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper 1 Pink-footed Goose. (R Doble, D Paul)

Maer Lake: 3 Ruff, 263 Common Snipe, c650 Golden Plover. (R Doble, D Paul)

Trebah Gardens: 200+ Brambling in stubble field by tennis courts south of the entrance to the gardens. (J Irvine)


Thursday 14th December 2017

Walmsley Sanctuary: There may be some disturbance at the reserve over the next few days as the BBC are filming for a documentary about the reserve and valley. 

Coverack:  1 Iceland Gull still present it has been showing well all week. (P.Bedford)

Hayle Estuary RSPB: Spoonbill on Ryan’s Field still and 1 Firecrest in front of the hide. (DA Conway, DK Parker)

Skewjack: 1w Iceland Gull. (K Wilson)

Swanpool: 2 Firecrest, 2 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Water Rail at south end am. (D Chaney)

Stithians Reservoir, Golden Lion cut-off: 85 Teal, 15 Wigeon, 1 Grey Heron, 9 Snipe, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Grey Wagtail. Stuart Hutchings Hide: 65 Canada Goose, 1 hybrid goose, 285 Black-headed Gull, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Gull, 5 Herring Gull, 2 Pochard, 3 Pintail (2f, 1 imm m) Southern cut-off: 7 House Sparrow, 1 Firecrest, 1 Chichaff, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 16 Wigeon, 10 Teal (D Chaney)

Kennal Vale, Ponsanooth: 1 Dipper, 1 Green Woodpecker (h), 2 Nuthatch, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Raven. (D Chaney, CWT group)

College Reservoir: 1 Firecrest. (D Chaney)

Penzance: 3m Blackcap, 1 Firecrest in private garden. (R Phillips)

Downderry: 1 Purple Sandpiper, 2 Black Redstart and 1 Water Pipit on the beach. (A Payne)

Newlyn, Sandy Cove: 1 Black-throated Diver. Also 1 Slavonian Grebe again off Sandy Cove at 08:35. (L Proctor)


Weekly Review 4th -10th December 2017

A quiet week on the whole in terms of new birds and remaining Cornwall rarities as we move into the winter. Pacific Divers were reported from Gerrans Bay and Mounts Bay on the same day again, with both reported on the 4th; no other reports received of either although viewing conditions have not been great since with rough weather continuing.

The Lesser Scaup and Ring-necked Duck remained at Dozmary, with the 2 Surf Scoter seen at Porthpean on the 4th. 4 Barnacle Geese of unknown origin were seen at Polbathic Creek on the Tamar on the 10th.

American Golden Plover, Mike McKee

3 Cattle Egret remained at St Erth on the 4th, dropping to 1 on the 8th and the Glossy Ibis remained at Kingsmill Lake on the Tamar Estuary. A single Spoonbill remained on the Hayle Estuary.

The American Golden Plover remained on the Hayle until the 9th at least.

A first winter (1w) Caspian Gull was on the Hayle Estuary on the 9th, with single Yellow-legged Gulls seen at 4 sites around the county.

A Little Bunting was at Nanjizal again on the 9th. Only 3 Hawfinch were seen in the county, with one at China Fleet Sailing Club at Saltash on the 8th and 9th.  Finally, in terms of Cornwall rarities, a  Rose-coloured Starling was at Mullion on the 4th.


Up to 30 Common Scoter were seen in Mounts Bay, with single Eider remaining off Penzance and Hannafore. Goosander were at 4 sites, with 13 at Helston Loe Pool the highest count. Long-tailed Ducks were at Porthpean and in St Austell Bay.

The highest Great Northern Diver count was of 20 in Gerrans Bay on the 5th, with 6 Black-throated Divers there on the 4th. Good news this week that the area including Gerrans Bay, from Falmouth to St Austell has been officially designated a ‘Special Protection Area’ (Falmouth SPA),with extra protection for the wintering seabirds along the coastline and in the Carrick Roads.

The Iceland Gull at Coverack was last seen on the 4th. Seawatching saw a single pale-phase Arctic Skua past Pendeen on the 7th, with a pale-phase Pomarine Skua in Mounts Bay on the 10th.

Single Red Kites were seen at Goonhilly Downs, Lizard and Columb St Major, with a Merlin and Short-eared Owl on the Hayle Estuary and at Crugmeer near Padstow.

Firecrests continued to be widely scattered, with the highest count being of 6 at Swanpool on the 7th. There was also a Yellow-browed Warbler at Swanpool on two dates and another at Illogan, Redruth on the 9th. The Lesser Redpoll flock was reported again on the 4th with 7 birds seen. Six Lapland Buntings were on the Penwith Moors and a single Water Pipit remained at Lamorna.

Swallows were reported at Hannafore again and Crowlas on the 4th and 9th respectively. A recently fledged Woodpigeon, accompanied by two adults, was noted in Penzance; they are one of the few British species known to breed throughout the year but it is nice to have a definite record now and then to verify.

An unseasonal Minke Whale off Newlyn on the 4th would probably be the non-avian highlight of the week.

Finally, Blackcaps were reported from 6 sites – do continue to look out for colour-ringed birds – over 50 birds have been colour-ringed so far this winter in the Falmouth area. See the Blackcap page for more details of the study if you haven’t done so already.

Dan Chaney

Wednesday 13th December 2017

Walmsley Sanctuary: There may be some disturbance at the reserve over the next few days as the BBC are filming for a documentary about the reserve and valley. 

Falmouth, off Swanpool Beach: 1 Red-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Black Redstart, 1, Kingfisher, 5 pairs of Fulmar on nesting site. (One of the Divers had fishing line around its head, mouth and neck, though I saw it catch and eat a pipefish.) (J St Ledger)

Great Northern Diver, John St Ledger

Great Northern Diver, John St Ledger

Fulmars, John St Ledger

Kingsmill Lake: 1 Glossy Ibis still.

Helson Boating Lake: 24 Shoveler. (M Nattrass)

Treverva: 1 Woodcock. (D Chaney)

Hayle Estuary, Ryan’s Field: 1 Goosander still.

Newlyn: Slavonian Grebe again off Sandy Cove at 11:30. (L Proctor)


Tuesday 12th December 2017

Chapel Carn Brea: 1 Snowy Owl. (J King, P Semmens, finder), bird was flushed by ponies at dusk and flew high to the NW towards Nanquidno/St Just hotly pursued by a corvid.

Snowy Owl, Phil Taylor

Snowy Owl, Alex McKechnie

Hayle Estuary RSPB: Adult Ring-billed Gull again off the Old Quay House at 14:00. (M Halliday) Also 1 juv American Golden Plover again.  Ryan’s Field: 1 Goosander again.

Porthpean: 1 adult female and juvenile Surf Scoter still off Lower Porthpean, also Long-tailed Duck still, 2 Black-throated Divers and 4 Great Northern Divers.

Penzance, Promenade, Battery Rocks and Harbour: c20 Common Scoter, 52 Turnstone, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Cormorant, 2 Shag, 1 Raven, 3 Pied Wagtail, 2 Rock Pipit and 1 Meadow Pipit plus Herring Gulls. (T Mills) Town: 1 recently fledged Woodpigeon, accompanied by two adults. (R Phillips)

Falmouth: 70+ Shag, 1 Grey Seal off Swanpool Beach. (D Chaney) Also 1 Firecrest, 2 Coal Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Song Thrush, 6+ Long-tailed Tit, 2+Redwing, 3+ Blackcap (one ringed) in the garden. (E Tackley) Swanpool beach: 1 Red-necked Grebe offshore. Castle beach: 2 Slavonian Grebe and 3 Black Redstart.

Carrick Roads: 7 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 24 Black-necked Grebe, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 Sandwich Tern (distant), all viewed from Mylor Churchtown area. (J St Ledger)

Black-throated Diver – J St Ledger

Newquay Towan head: 4 Common Scoter, 1 Grey plover, 3 Harbour Porpoise. (M Lammas)

Port Isaac, Treharrock Manor: 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Great spotted woodpecker, 3 Nuthatch, 36 Fieldfare, 6 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff. (S Grose)

Perranuthnoe, Trenow Cove: 100 Chaffinch, 34 Turnstone, 4 Redshank, 73 Shag, 1 Curlew, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whimbrel, 7 Little Egret, 1 Kestrel, 2 Buzzard, 1 Raven, 50 Starling, 1 Stonechat. (P Taylor, H Mitchell)

Hannafore Point: 2 Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Mediterranean Gull, 2 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff. (P Aley)

Looe: 1 Firecrest. (P Aley)

Wacker Quay: c65 Avocet, 1 Common Sandpiper. (P Aley)

Millbrook: 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 5 Mediterranean Gull , Blackcap. (P Aley)

Stithians Reservoir, Southern cut-off hide:  1 pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker,  9 Common Snipe, 1 Water Rail, 1 Chiffchaff,  8 Long-tailed Tit,  1 male Shoveler. (A James)

Snipe, Alan James

Shoveler, Alan James

Porthallow: 1 Black Redstart. (M Nattrass)

Newlyn, Sandy Cove: 6 Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcap. (L Proctor) Also 1 Yellow-browed Warbler in garden on Faugan Road.

Chiffchaff, Linton Proctor

Chiffchaff, Linton Proctor

Chiffchaff (tristis?), Linton Proctor

Chiffchaff (tristis?), Linton Proctor

Bude Marshes, (WeBS count): 2 Snow Geese, c200 Canada Geese 1 Feral white Goose, 2 Grey Heron, 13 Moorhen, 92 Black-headed Gulls, 35 Mallard, 18 Teal, 6 Crow, 11 Lapwing, 3 Song Thrush, 3 Chaffinch, 2 Wren, 3 Redwing, 16 Blackbirds,2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtails, 10 Oystercatcher, 2 Long-tailed Tit, 7 Rook, c60 Starling, 7 Robins, 2 Dunnock, 2 Magpie. (R Mudge)

Lower Tamar Lake: 20 Goosander, 2 Grey Heron, 10 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 3 Willow Tit, 1 Marsh Tit, 1 Song Thrush, 10 Wigeon, 7 Tufted Duck, c35 Coot, 2 Gadwall, c20 Black-headed Gull, 8 Herring Gull, 2 Blackbird, 6 Coal Tit, c50 Mallard. (R Mudge)

Upper Tamar Lake: c45 Fieldfare, 96 Canada Geese, 12 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Bull, 2 Teal, 1 Grey Heron, 6 Cormorant, 1 Song Thrush, 5 Blackbird, 14 Mallard, 6 Snipe, 2 Moorhen. (R Mudge)

Downderry:  2  Black Restart and 2 Water Pipit this afternoon. (A Payne)

St Erth: 2 Cattle Egrets still off Tredrea Lane with 9 Little Egrets. (DK Parker)

Tregonetha Downs: 2 Tawny Owl, several Snipe. (S Grose)


Monday 11th December 2017

Late News, 10/12, Saltash: Hawfinch still at the China Fleet Club, 14 Goldfinch and 1 Bullfinch.

Marazion: 30 Common Scoter offshore. (S Turner)

Truro: 1 male Blackcap in RCHT grounds. Also 6 Firecrest in the pine trees by the golf club. (M Smale)

Threemilestone: 2 Redwing, 2 male and 1 female Blackcap in a private garden. (E Harris)

Looe Estuary: 46 Black-headed Gull, 4 Cormorant, 2 Goosander (females), 6 Great Black-backed Gull, 1 Great Northern Diver, 5 Grey Heron, 30 Herring Gull, 4 Kingfisher, 19 Little Egret, 3 Little Grebe, 85 Mallard, 10 Mute Swan, 22 Redshank, 3 Shag. (WeBS, D Spooner)

Goosander – Derek Spooner

Ponsanooth: Pair of Blackcap in a private garden. (S Williams)

Lostwithiel: 1 Pink-footed Goose (unringed) beside river Fowey half a mile downstream from Lostwithiel today, with a handful of Canada Geese. (R Kirkwood)

Pink-footed Goose – Rupert Kirkwood

St Just, Carn Brea: 1 ringtail Hen Harrier. (C Moore)

Stithians Reservoir, Southern cut-off hide:  1 male Mandarin amid Mallard, Teal and Wigeon on the water,  Chaffinch , Greenfinch,  Coal Tit,  Blue Tit,  Great Tit, Reed Bunting and female Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders, (A James)

Mandarin – Alan James

Great Spotted Woodpecker (multi shot composition) – Alan James

Hayle Estuary RSPB: 1 adult Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Caspian Gull, American Golden Plover, Spoonbill, Water Pipit and a Black Swan. (P Roseveare) Ryan’s Field: 1 Goosander.

Dozmary Pool: Drake Lesser Scaup and Ring-necked Duck both still present.

Porthpean: 2 Surf Scoter, 1 Long-tailed Duck and 4 Great Northern Diver.

Siblyback Lake: Female Greater Scaup still, plus a Merlin. (DI Julian)

Falmouth, Swanpool: 2 Goldcrest, 8 Long-tailed Tit & a female Bullfinch. (D King) Swanvale NR: 3 Goldcrest. 2 chiffchaff at far end near South West water works. (D King) Falmouth cemetery: Great Spotted Woodpecker briefly in flight. Several more Goldcrests here. (D King) Falmouth private garden: 2 Blackcap, 2 Redwing, 3 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Song Thrush in the garden today. (E Tackley)