**Trindade Petrel** – New Species for Cornwall, UK and c13th for Western Palearctic.

Trindade Petrel, Porthgwarra, 29th July 2018: Two first-hand reports.

Before I start, I must mention the very sad passing of Brian Field yesterday and the effect this had on all of us. Despite the excellent passage of seabirds, we could never fully focus on this. We discussed many fond memories we had of Brian, as he was such a kind, warm and inspirational person who was such a valued part of the birding community. Unfortunately, it was for this reason that many great local seawatchers weren’t able to make it and our thoughts lie predominantly with them and Brian’s family rather than the petrel.

Yesterday morning, the wind was a particularly strong south westerly and had been forming way into the Atlantic Ocean. Birders from across the UK, who were excited about the prospect of a large movement of shearwaters and other interesting species, had arrived at first light, initially having to sit in poor visibility for two hours before their efforts paid off and the first of many large shearwaters started to pass the headland. It was an exciting morning as the numbers of species grew as did the volume of birds passing. Could it get any better?

At 12:08pm there was a slight lull in proceedings, following a fairly regular passage line of large shearwaters, and a few were tucking into their lunch. Then suddenly, Ray Archer shouted ‘Fea’s Petrel’ and everyone rushed back to their scopes. After a few seconds the first sea watchers were arriving on the bird, half way between the Pinnacle and the Runnel Stone and initially closer in than the Runnel. As the bird made a steady but assured passage west more and more were arriving on the bird and questions surrounding the identity began to be raised. But the more pressing question was its whereabouts for those who hadn’t yet connected. Frantic directions ensued from the marker-less ocean until perhaps a minute after discovery when the bird passed ever so slightly behind the Runnel Stone where everyone (all 20-25 observers) were able to get onto the bird. More and more doubts crept in as to the identity until Martin Elliott shouted words to the effect of ‘it’s a Trindade Petrel!!!’

Most had been looking for a bird more similar to Fulmar in appearance, whereas the closest bird this resembled was a mini Cory’s Shearwater and the new identification made more and more sense. Within 30 seconds to a minute the bird had headed around the rocks and was lost to view, but not before good views of multiple features had been obtained. By this time the identification as Trindade looked good, Martin Elliott and John Gale made field sketches and people who had seen the underwing pattern and tail pattern clearly were quizzed to ensure that the drawings were accurate! It was like being interrogated by the Police force! An incredible buzz grew around Gwennap Head as people stood up and congratulated each other. Had we really just seen a first for Britain!?!

Congratulations to Ray Archer for the find of a difficult to detect bird; Martin Elliott for the correct identification as well as Mark Wallace for superb directions.

Reuben Veal, 30th July 2018


    In the circumstances Ray Archer did well to call this bird as a gadfly petrel at all! The light had been good shortly before (squalls permitting), but as the cloud broke patches of glare began to appear and it was in one of these the bird was first seen. Calling “Fea’s!”  would be natural for anyone used to sea-watching from UK shores- no other Pterodroma would ordinarily be on your radar! But he did the job and almost everyone was quickly on the bird.

    It was only then that things got confusing. Even those without previous experience of Fea’s type petrels in the field will have seen plenty of photographs or illustrations but this just did not conform- to the point that several birders (myself included) actually came off it temporarily  because we thought we were looking at the wrong bird!

     The bird’s flight was distinctive; a continuous series of almost elastic looking flaps, not as rapid as Manx, slightly deeper and more like Sooty Shearwater but without the latter’s power and obvious curling or flexing of the primary tips. The bird kept low to the water, and did not shear or glide more than brief banking over wave crests which meant the underparts were hard to see.

    The combination of uniform brown upperparts without pale primary shafts, white underbody with dark under-tail coverts, dark underwing with white band on the secondary coverts,  inner greater primary coverts and primary bases, small, relatively uniform brownish head with paler throat, and longish narrow tail can only be shown by pale morph Trinidade Petrel Pterodroma arminjoniana! The only other taxa which come close “Herald” Petrel Pterodroma heraldica  from the Pacific ( with which Trinidade was “lumped” previously) but they do not show as much white on the underwing coverts, or “Trinidade” Petrels breeding on Round Island in the Indian Ocean- both being far fetched to say the least! Trinidade is regular off the Eastern seaboard of the US and has occurred in the Eastern North Atlantic.

Martin Elliot, 30th July 2018

Trindade Petrel, John Gale


Eds  – The record will be subject to ratification by the relevant rarity committee for full acceptance to the British List. This represents an amazing record, with the nearest breeding population in the South Atlantic off Brazil, with nearest regular sightings in the warm Gulf Stream waters off the South Eastern USA, although still something of a speciality there, with a single record off Bermuda in 2015. There have also been a small number of WP records, mostly from the Azores.

The supporting cast for birders on the day included maxima reported of 92 Great, 32 Cory’s, 47 Sooty and 13 Balearic Shearwaters, 1 Arctic and 13 Great Skua, 56 Storm Petrel, 4 Puffin and 5 Yellow legged Gull. Two Wilson’s Petrels were also seen further around the coast the same day.


>Return to Daily Sightings Page<

Field Meeting Red Moor 12th May

Ten Society and CWT members took an easy stroll round the Northern end of Red Moor in mid-May. Despite the threat of a shower, the weather remained fine although a brisk breeze took the edge off temperatures. We gathered to the sound of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, with a Song Thrush singing loudly in the background. Once on the reserve, a Grey Heron flew off a newly created pond – not a common bird on Red Moor so this was a good start. Despite the slow start to Spring, Willow Warblers were abundant with at least 16 singing males and their sweet sound was with us throughout the walk. Pausing in a clearing, we were rewarded by the clear song of a Garden Warbler, but despite best efforts we didn’t manage to see it. Just a few yards further on a male Yellowhammer sang and showed very well at close range, and there were two other males holding territory.

Moving through the wet willow scrub, we heard and saw a Treecreeper. But the highlight came soon after that when, just below Helman Tor, we saw a pair carrying food. We paused here, and a scolding Marsh Tit entered its nest, offering us great views of Treecreeper and Marsh Tit together! Dave Thomas returned the following day to take some superb photos of the birds. A male Reed Bunting called behind us and, as we walked back, two Mistle Thrush flew over – another less common bird for the area.

Marsh Tit and Treecreeper – Dave Thomas

Although some signature species such as Whitethroat, Cuckoo and Grasshopper Warbler didn’t feature on the day, we recorded a total of 32 species which is a good number for two and half hours on this site.

Phil McVey, 19th June

Saturday 30th June 2018

St Gothian Sands LNR: Adult summer plumaged Pacific Golden Plover again today. (R Augarde – video) The bird was seen to fly off towards St Ives at about 07.30 and not relocated. (S Rogers et al)

Pacific Golden Plover, Pete Aley

Pacific Golden Plover, Pete Aley

Pacific Golden Plover, Pete Aley

Hayle Estuary RSPB, Lelant Saltings: Pacific Golden Plover relocated this evening off Old Quayhouse from 20:00 to at least 21:15. (P St Pierre, M Spicer) Also 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Black-tailed Godwit. (R Veal)

Devoran Quay: 7 Mediterranean Gull, 168 Black-headed Gull, 5 Curlew, 7 Redshank. (S Grose)

Botallack: 3 fledgling Wheatear with adults. (S Williams)

Croft Pascoe/Goonhilly Downs: 2 Grasshopper Warbler singing, 1 Tawny Owl calling, 2 Crossbill, 1 Siskin, 10 Skylark, 2 Goldcrest singing, 1 Moorhen, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler. (J Evans)

Maer Lake: 1 Wood Sandpiper showing well but distant, 4 Black tailed Godwits, 2 Lapwing, 1 Dunlin, 1 Ruff with low water level and good muddy margins, at least 2 Moorhens with juveniles, numbers of Swallow and Sand Martin. (H Kendall, M Bryne)

Marazion beach: 1 Common Gull and 8 Mediterranean Gull. (P St Pierre)

Stithians Reservoir: 4 Lapwing, 1 Curlew. Also Reed Bunting, Whitethroat, Linnet all feeding young (D Eva)

Praa Sands Beach: 4 Mediterranean Gull. (S Grose)


Sunday 24th June 2018

Late news, 23/6, Looe Island: 2 Blackbird, 1 Carrion Crow, 30 Cormorant (with 3 nests still containing young), 1 Dunlin, 1 Feral Pigeon, 4 Fulmar (with at least 4 nests, 1 with egg), 2 Goldfinch, c 50 Great Black-backed Gull (plus many chicks), c125 Herring Gull (plus many chicks), 2 Little Egret, 3 Mallard (1 nest with eggs), 21 Oystercatcher (plus several chicks at various stages, including one hatched today), 1 Pheasant with chicks, 2 Pied Wagtail, 3 Rock Pipit, 10 Shag (plus several chicks), 1 Woodpigeon, 3 Wren. (D Spooner)

Oystercatcher nest and chick – Derek Spooner

Late news, 23/6, Trevithick Manor Farm, Newquay: 2 Barn Owl, 16 Swift. (S Grose)

Godolphin Cross: Sparrowhawk (C Richards)

Rinsey/Trewavas: 10 Bottlenose Dolphin 08:45 going west. (C Richards)

Porthgwarra seawatch 06:00-11:00: 600 Manx Shearwater, 1 Sandwich Tern, Puffin, 6 adult Mediterranean Gull and a Hobby picked up beyond the Runnel Stone before flying in over the seawatch point. Also 6 Risso’s Dolphin approx 2 miles out heading towards Mount’s Bay and 1 Porpoise. On land 12 Swift. (B Mellow) Porthgwarra seawatch 09:30-10:30: 276 Manx Shearwater, 2 Puffin west. Pod of 8 Risso’s Dolphins east later. (D Flumm)

Cannaframe (E of Bolventor): 1 Red Kite circling up until out of sight. North of A30 at 11:05. (B Craven)

Rosudgeon: Red Kite low over Packet Lane at 11:45. (A McPherson)

Par Market East Carpark: 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker. (S Grose)

Bude: 1 Sparrowhawk hunting rear garden successfully. (R Maye)

Penwithick: 12 House Sparrow, 3 Goldfinch, 3 Blue Tit, 1 Jay, 1 Buzzard, 1 Robin, 7 Jackdaw, 6 Chaffinch, 1 Raven, 6 Blackbird. (K Bowers)

Jay, Buzzard, House Sparrows and Blackbirds – Kevin Bowers


Saturday 16th June 2018

Late news, 8/6 + 9/6, Penzance: 1 male hybrid House Sparrow, House x Spanish, but with features of Italian Sparrow. (P Semmens)

Hybrid House Sparrow, Paul Semmens

Hybrid House Sparrow, Paul Semmens

Late News, 15/06, Swanpool: 3+ singing Reed Warbler. (D Chaney)

Late News, 15/06 Scillonian RSPB Friday Trip: Penzance to Wolf Rock Lighthouse: 163 Manx Shearwater, 18 Gannet, 1 Puffin, 3 Razorbill, 9, Guillemot, 28 Herring Gull, 3 Great Black-backed Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 12 Fulmar, 28 Kittiwake, 2 Harbour Porpoise, 1 Risso’s Dolphin, 1 Ocean Sunfish.   Wolf Rock Lighthouse to Isles of Scilly: 2,022 Manx Shearwater (huge rafts feeding all the way across to the islands), 33 Gannet, 43 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 4 Herring Gull, 4 Razorbills, 5, Guillemots 1 Great Skua, 2 Fulmar, 54 Shag, Ocean Sunfish.   Isles of Scilly to Wolf Rock Lighthouse: 2,281, Manx Shearwater, (huge rafts feeding all the way to the Wolf Rock lighthouse), 89 Gannet, 2 Kittiwake, 5 Fulmar, 7 Puffin, 10 Razorbill, 2 Guillemot, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Herring Gulls, 1 Basking Shark.   Wolf Rock Lighthouse to Penzance: 119 Manx Shearwater, 21 Gannet, 4 Fulmar, 3 Puffins 12 Razorbill, 7 Guillemot, 4 Herring Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gull, 48 Kittiwake, 10 Common Dolphin,  2 Harbour Porpoise (V Stratton, B Craven)

Ashton, nr Helston: 1 Rosy Starling in private garden in a large flock of starlings at a ground feeding station (L Bell)

Porthgwarra: 07:00 -10:30, 3 Arctic Skua, 2 Pomarine Skua, 1 Great Skua, 1 Great Northern Diver, 8 Common Scoter, 2 Sandwich Tern. (R Augarde, R Wilkins)

Falmouth: 1 Osprey flew SW this afternoon.

Loe Pool: 11 Cormorant (including 4 immature), 7 Reed Warbler, 5+ Sand Martin, 6 Great Crested Grebe (1 carrying a chick), 4+ Whitethroat (including 2+ juveniles), 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Grey Heron (1 adult, 1 immature), 2 Bullfinch, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler carrying food, 1 Blackcap. (G Adams)

Stithians Reservoir: Reed Bunting nest with 4 eggs, 2 Linnet nests with 3 and 5 young, Roe Deer fawn, 1 dead female Pheasant with no apparent injuries (D Eva)

Tywardreath: 1 young Chaffinch being fed by adult male bird in private garden. (R. Barlow)

Lellizzick: 2 (released) Grey Partridge. (S Grose)

Padstow:1 singing male Yellowhammer on wires just north of football pitch. (S Grose)

Hayle Estuary RSPB, Ryan’s Field: Barnacle Goose.

Drift Reservoir (members only): 100+ Swift. (P St Pierre)

Trevose Head: 2 singing Corn Bunting. (S Rowe)

Crugmeer: 2 singing Corn Bunting along road to Trevone. (S Rowe)


Stithians Reservoir Walk 13th May 2018

On Sun 13th May a small group of us had a good explore around the southern end of Stithians Lake. A cold start to the day ended in warm sunshine – a very pleasant day.

We started off in the Stuart Hutchings hide where there were a few water birds around, notably Great Crested and Little Grebes. We then crossed over to the feeders where we watched the usual visitors including some very nice views of Goldfinch. Moving on to the farm track by Carnmenellis and down to the reservoirs edge we were spoilt with some great views of a Blackcap, Willow Warblers, Whitethroats and best of all a very vocal and showy Sedge Warbler. It was here that we heard the distant sound of a Cuckoo. We then went to the other side of the cut off and a short way down the path and had more views of warblers and some nice Linnets, Reed Buntings and a very close view of a Greenfinch (Cornwall rarity these days!)

Additionally, an Adder was seen at the roadside and 3 species of butterfly were seen – Green-veined White, Orange Tip and Small Tortoiseshell.

A total of 40 species of bird were seen.

Beth Cross, 13th May

Willow Warbler – Hilary de Gast

Tresillian River Walk from St Clement 28th March 2018

Six people attended this event, the forecast was for showers but it stayed dry for this walk alongside the river in search of waders.

Above the car park, the Rooks had started rebuilding their nests and were cawing loudly. We started by viewing the local bird feeders which had attracted a mix of finches and tits but no Coal Tits or Siskin which is unusual. The river was also quiet with hardly a gull in sight, no Redshank but a few Greenshank and Curlew and a good number of Shelduck.

Tresemple Pool was also quiet although several of the group caught sight of a Kingfisher dashing to and fro. At the Tresillian end of the walk we found two Common Sandpiper. On our return, the tide had risen high enough to push birds off the river estuary and onto the shallows at the back of Tresemple Pool and there were a few Redshank and Greenshank washing and resting.

Full list: Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Pheasant, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Buzzard, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Kate Williams