The year didn’t quite end with a bang. Christmas Day in particular was a rather quiet day for bird news; other priorities perhaps?! The weather was also fairly rough, although good for the spot of interesting seawatching. No new major rarities this week, and the county list remains on or around 300 for the year – potentially a record year, although the final tally will depend on submissions of certain rarities of course.
The drake Lesser Scaup remained at Dozmary Pool. The 2 Surf Scoter remained off Porthpean. The putative Cackling Goose (or small Canada Goose), was again seen at Sancreed on the 31st with 96 Canada Goose, and 2 single Pink-footed Goose were again seen, at Lostwithiel and sites near Drift.
Cattle Egrets were seen at a handful of sites on the Lizard with up to 8 at Newtown on the 29th; a single was also at Porthilly on the Camel Estuary the same date. The Glossy Ibis was seen at Kingsmill on the 30th.
A first winter Ring-billed Gull was at Newquay on the 31st – probably new bird of the week. Caspian Gulls were at Lizard Point and Dozmary Pool on the 27th and 28th. A Little Auk was off St Ives on the 27th
Hawfinch sightings were up with some settled birds continuing to show; 2 at Feock, 6 at Egloshayle cemetery on the 31th, with 1 at Wadebridge on the 27th, 1 at Lands End and 1 still at Saltash n the 30th. A Little Bunting was again seen at Nanjizal on the 29th . Siberian Chiffchaff were reported from 4 sites; 3 being sewage farms in the county with the fourth in a private garden in Downderry
2 Velvet Scoter were off Porthpean on the 28th, with 50 Common Scoter off Penzance on the 30th.
Single Spoonbill were seen at Walmsley and the Hayle Estuary.
Manx Shearwaters were seen off Godrevy and Penzance, with 6 at the former site on Christmas Day and 1 at the latter site on the 30th; unusual for this time of year, when Balearic Shearwater tend to be the more regular species. Up to 2 Great Skua were again in Mounts Bay, with singles also off Newquay and St Ives; single Pomarine Skuas were also off Mounts Bay and St Ives in the week too.
An immature Glaucous Gull was at Newlyn from the 29th, with a juv Iceland Gull there too from the 28th, both seen on the fish market roof, 1 Iceland Gull at Coverack still and a juvenile flying north at Cape Cornwall on the 27th. 8 Yellow-legged Gulls were reported from 6 sites around the county
Firecrest numbers and reports continued to tail off, with the highest count being 3 in Swanvale on the 27th. 5 Common Crossbill were at Ninestones on Bodmin on the 28th. Water Pipits were seen around the county with 2 each at Marazion and Walmsley, a single at Downderry and 3 at Mawgan. Black Redstarts were seen at 7 sites around the county, with 5 at Falmouth on the 27th the highest count. Only a single Yellow-browed Warbler was reported, calling in Swanvale on the 27th, and a single Brambling was at St Levan.
Winter thrushes were present with 95 Fieldfare at Colliford and 200 Redwing near Indian Queens. 65 Chiffchaff were at Gwennap Sewage Works on the 28th.
Hopefully in the next week or so we will be setting up a section on the website for county listing leagues. The main sections will probably be a Green Challenge for the year, Garden Listing and County Listing proper. More to follow, but have a look at bubo or other listing platforms if you haven’t done so already to input species seen, and be ready to send in your totals.This can be as competitive as you want it to be; however it’s the taking part as much as anything that counts, as well as something of a focus for improving your own birding.
If you wish to take part please email updates to firstname.lastname@example.org ; the address can be found on the ‘contacts’ page in any case.
djc 4th Jan