Tuesday 24th March 2020

Lostwithiel, private garden: 7 Buzzard circling overhead. (C Mayhew)

Newquay Zoo: 19 Rook nests being built or already occupied nr entrance. (S Grose)

Porth Reservoir: 11 Great Crested Grebe (1 pr nest building with potentially 4 more prs all showing courtship behaviour), 3 Kingfisher, 1 Grey Heron, 5 Coot, 7 Moorhen, 1 m Tufted Duck, 63 Herring Gull, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Green Woodpecker, 3 Buzzard, 3 Raven over, 2 Jay. (S Grose) Porth Reservoir now closed to the public by SW Lakes.

Gluvian: 1 Red Kite (B Bosisto, L Payne)

Bude Marshes: 4 singing Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 6 Reed Bunting, 2 Shelduck, 4 Teal, 26 (13 prs) Rook, 6 (3 prs) Crow. (N Bastin)

A Cornwall Lockdown Diary, Day 1:

Our house at Wadebridge now has six adults and one toddler on board. Good luck with that for 12 weeks I hear you say. Household jobs are being allocated and relentless handwashing scrupulously observed. We are hunkered down for the duration, as Boris has instructed us.

Outside, the stunning spring weather mocks the cursed virus. Magnolia is in full bloom and green shoots and buds are bursting forth everywhere. How can such a beautiful day harbour such a grim secret? The bird feeders are still popular with Blue and Great Tits, House Sparrows, the odd Robin. A Dunnock appears underneath them from time to time, grubbing about, and a Wren shouts his song from nearby. We seem to have a few Chaffinches thank goodness – and why ever are their numbers crashing so badly? The BTO plans to find out. A Goldfinch tracks down the nyger supply. How do they know it’s just been topped up? But I’m running out of other bird food. Does that count as an ‘essential’? Probably not. Now a couple of Magpies have appeared but they can’t find much spilt seed under the feeders so they’re off pretty fast. Why do most people hate Magpies? If they were rare, their striking beauty would be revered.

When the whole human world is so anxious and so fretful, what a comfort it is to see our garden birds going about their spring business without a care in the world. Mental tonic – right outside our windows.

Simon Marquis