Monday 17th July

St Buryan: 1 Amur Falcon this morning on post on minor road from St Buryan to Crows-an-Wra (J Lawman). Relocated in same area at 12:35 (P Taylor, H Mitchell, J Ryan, R Wilkins). Seen at Crean with 2 Hobby at 13:05 (J Ryan, K Wilson). Then back on St Buryan to Crows-an-Wra road near electric substation/mobile phone mast from 17:15 until dusk. The road is narrow, frequently used by heavy farm machinery and parking is very limited.

 

Amur Falcon, Steve Rowe

 

Amur Falcon, Steve Rowe

Marazion: 3 Ringed Plovers (juv’s), 19 Sanderling (s/p), 18 Dunlin (s/p) and 2 Mediteranean Gulls (2cy). (J Hawkey) Also 1 Ad Mediterranean Gull ringed right leg 3YER. (S Turner)

Penzance, off Eastern Green beach: 1 sum plum Sanderling, 2 Dunlin and 1 eclipse male Eider at noon. (T Mills)

Nancledra: 3 juv Barn Owls. (S Turner)

Rock. Porthilly Point: 20 Mediterranean Gull, 2 Sandwich Tern, 1 juv Common Gull, 1 Curlew, 1 Knot. (S Grose)

Walmsley: 3 Cattle Egret still present this evening. (A Langdon)

Falmouth, Pendennis Point:  13 Common Scoter west, good numbers of Gannet and Manx Shearwater distantly, 3 Skua sp. west, 15+ Common Dolphin, 1 Harbour Porpoise, with 6 Mediterranean Gull (4 ad 2 juv) on the rocks, Whimbrel, Kestrel, Whitethroat singing, 1 Green Woodpecker flying around the point calling before flying back inland, seawatch 08:00 – 09:00 hrs (D Chaney)

Drift Reservoir: 12 Common Sandpiper, 1 Dunlin, 65 Swift, 1 Sand Martin, 6 House Martin (D Flumm, P St Pierre)

Goss Moor: 81 birds ringed at CES (Constant Effort Site) including 36 Blackcap, 6 Garden Warbler, 6 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchiff and a juvenile Willow Tit, first 3 juv Bullfinch and Chaffinch, with Crossbill, Hobby and 8 Swift overhead. (P Roseveare)

Nanjizal: 102 birds ringed including 25 Sedge Warbler (8 ad), 6 Reed Warbler, 5 Willow, Warbler, Garden Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler. (K Wilson)

St. Germans: 1f Reed Bunting has been visiting garden feeders regularly for a month. Today, she brought and fed 2 youngsters. Also Large Elephant Hawk Moth 6th larva/egg found on fuschia. (A Blonden)

Dobwalls: Silver-washed fritillary in private garden. (C&J Duffy)                                            

djc/sgr

Thursday 13th July 2017

St Gennys: Unconfirmed report of possible Amur Falcon this morning.

Lower Tamar Lake: 1 Great White Egret. (C&B Travis)

Great White Egret, Charles Travis

Treraven Meadow: 1 Cattle Egret this morning. (D Julian)

Walmsley Sanctuary, Wadebridge: 1 Cattle Egret, 3 Green Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Otter this am. (S & PM Rogers)

Cattle Egret, Steve Rogers

Rumps: 2 Shoveler (S & PM Rogers)

Hayle Estuary: 10 Mediterranean Gull, 109 Curlew, 1 Whimbel , 6 Oystercatcher, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Little Egret, 2 Swallow (in hide), 1 Kingfisher. Also 3 Whimbrel, 5 Common Sandpiper, 5 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 12 Redshank, 14 Med Gull and 5 Black Swan on Lelant Saltings. (R Veal)

Nanjizal: 68 birds ringed up to 8:00 hrs, incl. 22 Sedge Warbler, 6 Reed Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Grasshopper Warbler. (K Wilson)

Drift:  1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 15 Swift (D Flumm)

Sancreed: 1 pair Spotted Flycatcher with 2 fledged young (D Flumm)

Kynance Gate:  2 Dark-green Fritillary. (J St Ledger)

Dark-green Fritillary, John St Ledger

Croft Pascoe: 2 Spotted Flycatcher (1 adult feeding 1 juv), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker. (J St Ledger)

Spotted Flycatcher, John St Ledger

Gweek, Constantine Quay: 3 Common Sandpiper. (J St Ledger)

At sea, location unknown: 1 Great Shearwater, from a fishing boat c.16km offshore at mid-day.

Scillonian Crossing, Penzance to Wolf Rock: 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, c20 Common Scoter, 2 Storm Petrel, 2 Fulmar, 2 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 33 Gannet and hundreds of Manx Shearwater, also 2 Porpoise. Wolf Rock – Scilly: 1 Minke Whale. Wolf Rock to Penzance: 2 Guillemot, 2 Fulmar, 10 Gannet, many Manx Shearwater and 2 Common Dolphin. (T Mills)

Manx Shearwater, Tony Mills

Rosenannon Downs: 2 Tawny Owl, 1 Barn Owl, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Snipe at dusk. (S grose)

Lizard Point seawatch: 1 ad Roseate Tern, 16 Sandwich Tern, 14 Common Scoter, 1 Great Shearwater,  1 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Great Skua, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Yellow-legged Gull (this years juv). (T Blunden)

djc + tdm

Monday 10th July 2017

Polgigga: entirely unconfirmed report of 1st-summer female Amur Falcon possibly relocated by road near Porthcurno turning at c.07:00.

Hayle Estuary RSPB: 1 Greenshank, 16 Redshank on Lelant Saltings. 2 Whimbrel, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 32 (5 juv) Med Gull, 145 Black-headed Gull on Ryan’s Field. (R Veal)

Walmsley Sanctuary: 3 Cattle Egret again this afternoon.

Rock, Porthilly Point: 133 Oystercatcher, 20 Mediterranean Gull, 5 Sandwich Tern, 2 Common Gull, 42 Black-headed Gull, 1 Grey Plover. (S Grose)

Pendeen: 139 Manx Shearwater, 10 Fulmar, 10 Common Scoter, 20 Kittiwake, 1 ad Mediterranean Gull (10:30-12:30), all west. (D Flumm)

Sancreed: 20 Swift, 1 Hummingbird Hawk-moth (D Flumm)

Sennen Cove: 1 Ocean Sunfish in bay.

djc + tdm

Amur Falcon in Cornwall, 6th-7th July 2017

A species new to Cornwall, and the first twitchable individual of this species in the British Isles.

Found by Mark Wallace on the evening of the 6th July (Thursday) at Raftra Crossroads near Porthgwarra and later suspected of potentially being this species as opposed to the more expected Red-footed Falcon – this was confirmed from the photographs taken at the time and from discussion with Kester Wilson and others.

The bird was refound/still present the following day for those dedicated enough to try for it, along the roadway on the approach into Porthgwarra an hour or so after first light, showing well in the fieldside hedgerows, and continued to show well for those present and those arriving soon after.

Potentially the fourth for Britain, after 2 separate individuals in Shetland, and Dumfries and Galloway back in 1984 (both retrospectively considered to be this species from a time when it was widely considered to be the eastern subspecies of Red-footed Falcon, and not a separate species) and the Tophill Low, Yorkshire male in 2008 which was identified from photographs after the bold white underwing patches were noted in photographs taken of the bird after its month long stay.

(More on the Dumfries and Galloway bird and it’s interesting story Here )

The bird showed well for most of the morning, preening and being seen to cough up 3 pellets shortly after being relocated first thing, and was seen catching and feeding on dragonflies almost immediately upon taking flight in the morning (insects taken on the wing being the main feeding stategy of this species).

So what was this bird doing in Cornwall in early July when it should be on breeding territory in Eastern Siberia or North China? Without doing any deep analysis, it should be noted that there is an interesting precedent for rare birds turning up in the UK in July to tend to be ‘very rare’ species as opposed to the normal run of ‘ordinary rarities’. This is certainly very rare or indeed, a ‘mega’ in anyone’s books.

Whether it accidentally hooked up with Red-footed Falcons in winter quarters, subsequently doing its own thing, or as an example of a ‘reverse migration’ mis-orientation (flying North instead of North East in this case) we will perhaps never know. Recent high pressure and record high temperatures in Western Europe this summer would seem to have little to do with it at a first glance, although it could have potentially been pushed northwards more recently from SW Europe.

Turning up on the south Cornwall coast means that it could have come from the south or the south-east in the first instance (or indeed the north even); as a migrant the bird is a long-distance migrant travelling from South Africa to north east Asia via the Indian Subcontinent with a long sea crossing along the way.

Interestingly a female was reported from a Red-footed Falcon colony in Romania back in late May this year, and there have been increasing mid-summer records from elsewhere in Europe in recent years in addition to the slightly more expected passage spring and autumn periods.

This bird appears to be a first summer (2nd calendar year) female, so probably not a breeding bird – most ‘lost’ birds tend not to be full adults which have already made a successful trip to traditional winter/summering areas (as we see, for example with many autumn migrants which tend to be first winters rather than adults).

Identification from Red-footed Falcon can be confirmed from the white underwing coverts and overall white underparts as opposed to being buffy in Red-footed Falcon.

It does look potentially a bit scruffy/worn in some photographs – this is probably due to moult timing, with a partial moult occurring during the summer months rather than anything else. There has never been any evidence of this species being kept in captivity in Europe, and there is currently no reason to suspect that this bird is anything other than a genuine migrant.

It continues a good run of rare falcons in the Porthgwarra area, following the Eleonora’s Falcon seen and photographed in 2012. It should be noted that Red-footed Falcon is normally a relative rarity in Cornwall with most records in late spring – two of which were recorded at nearby Nanjizal this spring.

Although last seen flying off to the north late morning of the 7th, it may yet be relocated. In any case, it would seem that this species has been overlooked in the past and certainly should be on every bird finders potential finds radar. A cracking find for the observer and a reminder that just about anything can be out there.

  • Amur Falcon - Mark Wallace

Slideshow of photos received of this bird (click on images or buttons below to pause or hopefully restart)

Dan Chaney, 8th July 2017

Friday 7th July 2017

Late news, 6/7, Porthgwarra: (07:30-10:00) 2 Roseate Tern, 3 Great Shearwater, 2 Puffin. (F Bell)

Polgigga: 2cy female Amur Falcon present again and showing well this morning to 11:08 only when it flew off high towards Sennen. (T Mills, A Davey, B Field, J Chapple et al) Quail at Raftra Farm at 13:20 but no sign of Falcon. (D Julian)


Amur Falcon – Brian Field

Amur Falcon – Adrian Davey

Amur Falcon – Tony Mills

Amur Falcon – Tony Mills

 

Amur Falcon – John Chapple

Porthgwarra: Great Shearwater, 1,000+ Manx Shearwater, 79 Gannet, 3 Puffin, 6 Razorbill, 3 Common Guillemot, 5 adult Mediterranean Gull and 27 Kittiwake also Sooty Shearwater reported. (LGR Evans, L Fuller)

Hayle Estuary RSPB: 5 Black Swans still. (LGR Evans)

Godolphin Hill: Hobby being harried by Swallows twice today down Rocky Lane. (S Yandall)

Rock, Porthilly Point: 9 Sandwich Tern, 3 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, 56 Oystercatcher, 2 Raven, 40 Sand Martin, 16 swift, 1 Kingfisher, 4 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron,5 Cormorant, 1 Kestrel. (S Grose)

RSPB Scillonian III Wildlife Cruise, Penzance – Wolf Rock: c700 Manx Shearwater, 5 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill, 15 Kittiwake, 1 Med Gull, 5 Sandwich Tern and 1 Risso’s Dolphin. Wolf Rock – Penzance: c500 Manx Shearwater, 6 Fulmar, 5 Arctic Tern and c30 Common Dolphin. (MJ Spicer)

cjb

Thursday 6th July 2017

Polgigga: 1s female Amur Falcon on wires this evening but mobile, appeared to go to roost at 21:25. (M Wallace) Please park safely and considerately, the roads are very narrow and frequently used by large farm machinery. Limited parking on the roadside between Polgigga and Raftra Farm, also by the cricket pitch and green at Trethewey. On no account drive along or park on Bosistow Lane, as this is a private road!

Amur Falcon, Dave Parker

Amur Falcon, Dave Parker

Amur Falcon, M Wallace

Walmsley: 4+ Cattle Egret. (B Rankine)

Cattle Egret, Barry Rankine

Cattle Egret, Barry Rankine

Davidstow: Adult Yellow-legged Gull. (J Mitchell)

Yellow-legged Gull, Jon Mitchell

Mount Hawke: 21 Starlings (adult and juvenile mix) squabbling at feeders, flew up onto wires to be counted at 07:30 in private garden, 1 Sparrowhawk. (RB Girling)

Rock: 1 male sparrowhawk from private garden. (S Grose)

Truro: 2 Crossbill calling and flying around fir trees in Trewinnard area this morning. (S Rogers)

Drift Reservoir: 5 Common Sandpiper. (M Wallace)

St Gothian Sands: 1 juv Dipper on Red River. (P Freestone, MJ Spicer)

Dipper, Mike Spicer

Boscastle: No sign of the Woodchat Shrike despite extensive searching, 15+ Swifts, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Raven. (H Kendall & B Bryne)

Rame Head: 20+ Whitethroat, 1m Yellowhammer in approximately a square mile. (R Napp)

sgr