Field Meeting at Helston, Sunday February 10th 2019

If there is anything in life to make the heart sink, it is seeing pouring rain out of the window on the morning of a field meeting you are leading. It was, however, very much a case of showers, so with fingers crossed I made my way to Helston. As luck would have it the weather improved all the way and I was delighted to see around ten members keen enough to turn out on a blustery morning when many would have stayed home. Quite a few familiar faces were among the attendees and we soon got down to making the most of a pretty uninspiring dose of weather. Unlike this meeting last year, where Firecrests outnumbered Goldcrests, neither species put in an appearance. The ever reliable wintering Chiffchaffs were abundant though, especially in the lane running up the side of the sewage works. No Siberians this year though, at least not picked up by us, despite determined looking.

We couldn’t ignore the Glossy Ibis of course and it was very showy, feeding away with male Blackbirds and showing just how big they are when next to a familiar species. This was a new tick for some, which is always a treat for a leader. Apart from the common woodland species we had a beautiful Grey Wagtail (never anything but!), a few Song Thrushes and a singing Greenfinch hanging on in the wind at the top of a tall tree. Nothing remarkable in that, save for the comments on how long since people had seen one in their gardens, after the awful canker disease that has sent numbers crashing.

Given that Helston Boating Lake has such a reputation for turning up rarities we couldn’t miss a walk around. There were lots of pristine Tufted Ducks of both sexes and we had a nice look at a very sleepy drake Ferruginous Duck that has been on the lake for months now. What a fantastic, dark chestnut colour he is too. Presumably an escape, but still a very nice bird to see.

With raindrops trying to turn into a shower and the breeze picking up we agreed to call it a day a little early but we left cheered by the sight of one or two Black-headed Gulls in breeding plumage. Spring is on its way!

Roger Hooper, 12th Feb

Glossy Ibis, Ian Boreham Glossy Ibis - Steve Rowe

CBWPS File Photos – Glossy Ibis in Cornwall 2019 – Marlene Rouncefield, Steve Rowe

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Windmill Farm Work Party Saturday 9th February 2019

Windmill Farm Work Party

CBWPS Cornwall Birds headed out to Windmill Farm on Saturday 9th February to carry out some habitat management for birds and other local wildlife. We were joined by students from UoE Penryn Ornithology Club.

It was a pretty dull day, with mizzle in the air, meaning we were all wearing many layers and waterproofs! But spirits were high, and we set about with loppers, saws and scythes; managing to strip bare a large section of vegetation (mainly gorse, bramble and willow) surrounding the dragonfly ponds. Leaving the banks lining the ponds bare in this manner is beneficial to invertebrate species, particularly Green Tiger Beetles. Many Toads were spotted, with a large section of the pond laced with toad spawn. The entrance area and car park were cleared of bramble and the visitor centre tidied and windows lovingly cleaned.

Before … After … And Toad Spawn

The sites nest boxes were checked for last years nests; finding both a Blue Tit and a House Sparrow nest! Fingers crossed that the boxes will be occupied this season!

We rewarded ourselves with hot drinks, biscuits, ginger cake and an afternoon of birding. Not many birds were seen onsite at Windmill Farm, so we headed over to Coverack.

Industrious volunteers … Checking the nest boxes

Windmill Farm species list:
– Herring Gull
– Magpie
– Carrion Crow
– Blue tit
– Great tit
– Skylark
– Chaffinch
– Goldfinch
– Marsh Harrier flyover (enjoyed by the select few just after the Coverack posse had left!)

It was blustery along the coastline, but we managed to spot a variety of species on and off land. It didn’t take us long to spot the Pallas’s warbler at the sewage works amongst a group of Long-tailed Tits! (Others had been there all morning and not seen it, so we were perhaps a little fortunate).

Coverack species list:
– Eider 3
– Fulmar
– Slavonian Grebe
– Grey Heron
– Gannet
– Shag
– Cormorant
– Buzzard
– Black-headed Gull
– Mediterranean Gull
– Great Black-backed Gull
– Lesser Black-backed Gull
– Kittiwake
– Guillemot
– Woodpigeon
– Raven
– Long-tailed Tit
– Chiffchaff
– Pallas’s Warbler
– Goldcrest
– Wren
– Song Thrush
– Robin
– House Sparrow
– Dunnock
– Grey Wagtail
– Pied Wagtail
– Rock Pipit

A final stop off at Goonhilly Earth Station resulted in no birds (although a dead mouse was seen), and rain starting to come in, and heavily just after we had left. You never know what you will see – a feral escaped Wallaby was seen less than a mile away the following day, and a male Hen Harrier from the viewing platform the following week.

Thank you to all that came and helped out. An enjoyable time was had by all. A very special thank you to Windmill Farm’s warden Dougy Wright and to Greg Adams for organising the workparty.

Paige Petts, 14th Feb

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Sunday 17th February 2019

Late news, 29/1, Helston: A pair of Glossy Ibis at Penrose amenity site. (M Hoggett)

Glossy Ibis – Mike Hoggett

Late news, 16/2, Gluvian: 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Cormorant, 110 Fieldfare, 30 Yellowhammer. (P Roseveare, B Bosisto)

Late news, 16/2, Mousehole: Adult Kumlien’s Gull at the St Clement’s Isle roost, also 2 1w Yellow-legged Gull and 2 ad argentatus Herring Gull. (M Elliott)

Mousehole: Adult Kumlien’s Gull still present on St Clement’s Isle to 12:00 at least, also adult argentatus Herring Gull plus Great Northern Diver and Red-throated Diver. (M Elliott)

Chapel Amble: 1 Temminck’s Stint, Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Green Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, Redwing, Teal. (M Frost)

Hayle Estuary RSPB: 1 adult Ring-billed Gull, 7 adult Yellow-legged Gull and a 2nd winter. 14 Grey Plover, 4 Greenshank and the adult Spoonbill. (P Roseveare) 1 Mediterranean Gull, 5 Yellow-legged Gull. (M Halliday)

Yellow-legged Gull – Mark Halliday

Mediterranean Gull – Mark Halliday

Hannafore: Siberian Chiffchaff still, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 long-staying drake Eider + 1 female Eider. (M Frost)

Trewornan Bridge: 5 Cattle Egret in field with sheep. Huge flock of Golden Plover over estuary. (M Frost)

Drift Reservoir: 4 Cattle Egret, 107 Canada Geese and 3 Med Gull. (D Flumm)

Wadebridge: 53+ Cattle Egret off Bradford’s Quay. (D Julian)

Helston: Yellow-browed Warbler in wood west of River Cober and south of the boating lake. (M Ahmad) Another reported at the sewage works.

Lelant: 1 Swallow over the golf course at 11:30. (S Turner)

Poltesco: 2 House Martin, 6 Rock Pipit. (F Trewin)

Rock Pipit – Freddy Trewin

Bosworgy, Relubbus: 1 Swallow. (D Beadle)

Camel Estuary: Adult Yellow-legged Gull off Tregunna. 2 Spoonbill & 4 ad Whooper Swan at Burniere Point. (D Julian)

Newlyn: 4 Eider, 1 Common Gull, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Raven. (S Grose)

Longrock Pool: 3 Little Grebe, 2 Tufted Duck. (S Grose)

Marazion Beach: 12 Common Gull. (S Grose)

St Dennis: Firecrest at the cemetery feeding with a small group of Long-tailed Tit. (P Ash)

Higher Bosistow: Crimson Speckled moth (image on CBWPS twitter feed). (M Wallace). (Possibly first UK winter/early spring record of this rare vagrant c100 records total)

Colliford Reservoir and Dozmary Pool: 75 Canada Goose, 6 Cormorant, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 14 Goosander (inc 5 males), 28 Mallard, 17 Teal, 13 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, 1 Shoveler, 2 Goldeneye, 140 Lapwing, 4 Great Black-backed Gull, 13 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Buzzard, 2 Raven, 23 Carrion Crow, 12 Jackdaw, 6 Magpie, 53 Starling, 3 Blackbird, 36 Fieldfare, 15 Redwing, 1 Stock Dove, 5 Meadow Pipit, 2 Dunnock, 1 Wren, 2 Chaffinch and 5 batches of Frogspawn. (D Conway)

Hayle Kimbro: 1 female Marsh Harrier, 1 Painted Lady. (D Eva)

College Reservoir CBWPS walk: 4 Canada Goose, 3 Mute Swan, 6+ Shoveler, Wigeon, Mallard, 4 Teal, 1m Pochard, Tufted Duck, 2 Goldeneye, 4 Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, 4 Chiffchaff (2 singing), Goldcrest, Wren, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Treecreeper, Blackbird, Robin, 10+ Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch. Full report can be found in the Walks and Events section Here. (D Chaney, B Cross)

Porth Reservoir: 1m Goosander, 35 Mallard, 10 Coot, 1 Kingfisher, 6 Great Crested Grebe. (S Rowe) 1 Tawny Owl heard, and several Great Crested Grebe heard. (S Grose)

Lanner: 300+ Jackdaw in pre-roost gathering at 18:00. (S Turner)

Golitha Falls: 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 Nuthatch, 5 Blue Tit. (C Hooper)

Grey Wagtail and Nuthatch – C Hooper

Penwithick: 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Robin, 6 Chaffinch, 11 House Sparrow, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Long Tailed Tit. (K Bowers)

Reed Bunting and Long-tailed Tit – Kevin Bowers

Penhale Point: 1 Merlin. (S Grose)

Porth Beach: 2 Mediterranean Gull below Glengorgal Hotel. (S Grose)

Bartinney: 1 male Hen Harrier. (C Moore)

Lanyon Quoit: 1 Barn Owl. (DK Parker)

Pentire Headland, Newquay: 5 Red-throated Diver, 1 Manx Shearwater. (D Trevelyan)

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives: c5 Black Throated Diver and 2 Great Skua. Also 1 Vagrant Emperor dragonfly on the beach. (L Stoppard)

Porth, Roseland: 70+ Mediterranean Gull at high tide feeding in wash of shore waves at north end of Towan Beach. (D Hall)

dkp/cjb