January 2020 News

2019 Birding Review: With a new year and a new decade just started, Reuben Veal looks back over the highlights of what was another all round great year for birds in Cornwall, with some exceptional records including several new additions to the Cornish list – Cornish Birding Roundup 2019

Membership reminder: For those who pay for their society membership by cheque, please note that it is now due.

December 2019 News

Bird recording volunteers:  The National Trust in West Cornwall are looking for bird enthusiasts to help carry out bird surveys at some of our countryside sites, to measure the impact of our ever expanding habitat management work. In 2020 we have new work (including pony grazing) starting at Tregiffian, Porthcurno, Rospletha, Mayon cliff, Escalls, Cape Cornwall, Kenidjack and Treveal.  Complementing existing schemes we have in place, to give birds and other wildlife the right habitat conditions to thrive.

We have a list of sites across West Cornwall to survey, each one requiring just 2 visits between the end of March and end June.  If you think you can help us or would like further information, please contact Shaun on 07881 811481 or Shaun.Boyns@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Cornwall Birds Student Award 2019: The Cornwall Birds (CBWPS) ‘Birds in Cornwall Award for Student Research’ in memory of Vic Simpson (1941-2018) aims to recognise and promote the contribution to the long history of Cornish ornithology by masters and final year undergraduate students. The award is given to the student judged to have produced the best ornithological dissertation based on research conducted in Cornwall. To find out more please see: Cornwall Birds Student Award 2019

Paddyfield Pipit colour A4 prints by renowned wildlife artist Martin Elliott, from a limited-edition of 30, signed and numbered at £20 each (plus £5 p&p). People can contact Martin by e-mail or ringing 07875295457.

Gull Identification field-classes: based at the Hayle Estuary led by Martin Elliott. This winter numbers will be limited to a maximum of 4 people at a time and aim be more flexible about time etc so £10 per hour per head for the first 2 hours then £5 per hour thereafter. People can contact Martin by e-mail or ringing 07875295457.

Guided Birdwatching Cruises: Our three hour Guided Bird Watching Cruises have live commentary throughout from leading ornithologists who have spent many years studying the birds and wildlife on the this award-winning stretch of water. We have large comfortable boats with outdoor upper decks and indoor heated lower decks with huge windows – great for viewing whatever the weather.  Refreshments are available along with Rod & Bens organic soup and the Chunk of Devon pasties are available to pre-order. We have availability on our cruises running to the beginning of March that you can see on the website here https://www.stuartlinecruises.co.uk/bird-watching/  If there are any dates that would be particularly suitable to you that are not listed please feel free to contact us and we can look at arranging an additional date for you.  Tickets cost just £12.50 per person or £10 per person for groups of 15 or more.

Mermaid II wildlife trip will sail 12:00 Tuesday 17/12 – 2 hours at £17 per head (pay on boat), again hoping to find the Pacific Diver! book through M Elliott (07875295457) and check on Monday to make sure it is still going if the weather changes and where to embark.

djc

December 2019 News

Paddyfield Pipit colour A4 prints by renowned wildlife artist Martin Elliott, from a limited-edition of 30, signed and numbered at £20 each (plus £5 p&p). People can contact Martin by e-mail or ringing 07875295457.

Gull Identification field-classes based at the Hayle estuary led by Martin Elliott. This winter numbers will be limited to a maximum of 4 people at a time and aim be more flexible about time etc so £10 per hour per head for the first 2 hours then £5 per hour thereafter. People can contact Martin by e-mail or ringing 07875295457.

Stithians Reservoir Workparty 23rd November

Stithians Reservoir Workparty 23rd November 2019 – CBWPS Cornwall Birds and Ecosoc (Penryn University Student Ecology Society), with SWLT.

The morning of the 23rd November saw our first workparty of the season at Stithians dawn wet and damp. By 9:30am however it was dry, if grey, as we made our way from the Watersports Centre towards the area we were going to be working in.

Attacking the gorse en masse. One of our volunteers even came fully dressed to attract in any vagrant hummingbirds or bumblebees that happened to be passing on the lookout for an unexpected nectar source.

The task in hand was clearing an open area of Molinia (Purple Moor Grass), Heather and Devil’s-Bit-Scabious of invading Gorse and willows. This was a great task for a reasonably large volunteer group and using the various loppers, bow saws, scythes and rakes which Beth, the South West Lakes Trust warden had provided, we were able to make some great progress in the main clearing, hopefully to the benefit of the plantlife and adders which are to be found around the lake in this habitat.

With a few birders in the group, we were able to maintain an ongoing day list as we went and reached a respectable total of 45 for the day. The weather on the day turned out better than forecast – light drizzle at times, with a heavier spell or two which didn’t dampen our spirits too much as we attacked the vegetation and tidied up the site.

The best birds around the work area were 11 or so Curlew giving their distinctive and evocative cries as they moved between local feeding fields, flyover Grey Wagtail and Little Egret, Redwings and Fieldfares passing over and some Long-tailed Tits and a Chiffchaff, with a lucky few also disturbing a Kingfisher and seeing a flock of a dozen or so Dunlin fly over. The latter an unusual record this late in the year; presumably just passing by, given the high water levels at Stithians after the touch or two of rain we’ve enjoyed (almost continuously, or so it seems) over the last few months …

Another highlight of the day was a brief burst of sunshine – the wan winter sun even more warming than our wet gorse bonfire (apologies to any dog walkers hoping for a pleasant smoke-free Saturday afternoon stroll around the reservoir). The afore-mentioned fire did however come in useful in terms of toasting marsh mallows and destroying some of the evidence that the gorse had once existed (it will return …)

Habitat now minus small gorse. We also dealt with some willow scrub and scythed and raked some patches to help regenerate fresh growth.

After our hard work on the day most of us treated ourselves to some birding at the hides at the southern end of the Reservoir. First stop was the Stuart Hutchings Hide where we picked up the first winter female Lesser Scaup with a Tufted Duck. Probably the rarest bird at Stithians for a few years at least. Scrutinising the gulls didn’t result in anything out of the ordinary, but some roosting Cormorants on the low branches of the indundated willows were nice. We then moved on across the road to the Southern Cutoff Hide where we enjoyed great views of the Chaffinches and Coal Tits on the feeders, a fly in female Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Goldcrest and even a House Sparrow, with the final birds just as we were leaving a fairly distant flock of 70+ Lapwing in flight. A calling Firecrest unfortunately gave only the briefest of almost-untickable views as it flitted at speed through the treetops. Mammalian highlight (indeed, only mammal of the day) was a cute little Bank Vole briefly beneath the feeders.

Anyway, a great effort by all involved, we only got a little soggy (except for those without wellies perhaps), some nice birds, and an enjoyable day outside. Thanks to all who came along. We will be having more practical work parties in the New Year … do please join us. Hopefully an educational and fun experience, with the added benefit of working towards improving the local environment for wildlife.

Species List –

Canada Goose, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck, Lesser Scaup, Little Grebe, Lapwing, Snipe, Dunlin, Curlew, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Song Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Stonechat, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting.

We rewarded the volunteers with some marshmallows on bits of twig around a damp fire. Highlight of most of their young lives.so far.

Ecosoc President having far too much fun. Best take care to keep her away from most sources of ignition and pointy objects henceforth?

Dan Chaney, Nov 2019

Trevose Head draft 2

< Back to Site Guide listing

General Location: Trevose Head is a rocky headland.on the exposed north coast The Southwest Coast Path closely follows the coastline and allows for good general access to the area. Constantine Bay is a sandy beach situated south of Trevose Head and under Trevose Golf Club, and Mother Ivey’s Bay and Harlyn Bay are sandy beaches to the east of the head.

Directions and Access: Drive west from Padstow along the B3276 etc etc The Trevose Head car park is at FD43 56F

General resume of habitat and typical birds: The area behind the coast is rough grassland with occasional low gorse bushes, turning to fields of cereal further inland. The lighthouse of Trevose Head attracts migrants in spring and autumn in appropriate weather.

(Then the birds, either in a written passage or as below:)

Year round: Corn Bunting, Stonechat
Winter: Red-throated Diver, Lapwing +
Summer: Guillemot, +
Spring and autumn: Migrants and vagrants (list half dozen typical including Wheatear),seabirds as above.
Rare birds: (BBRC) seen in the area include Little Shearwater, Gyr Falcon, Tawny Pipit, Siberian Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Pied Wheatear (Nov 2018) and Red-eyed Vireo in addition to a good list of the scarcer passage migrants.

Specific birding tips/more detailed information (based on the map above):
Historically, the best months for seawatching from Trevose Head have been August and September for Great, Cory’s, Balearic and Sooty Shearwater. Leach’s Petrels and Sabine’s Gulls are to be found later in September and into October. However any time of year can be productive given the right conditions. Seawatching is best in or immediately following westerly or northwest winds.

Possible route including known hot spots: The coastal path and immediate scrub and fields can be explored, with certain hotspots, notably the Lighthouse and the blah blah (point A) on the map. The blah bah (another paragraph or two)

 

(Nearby Sites: if there are any.)

Trevose Head draft 1

< Back to Site Guide listing

(Introduction:) Trevose Head is a rocky headland.on the exposed north coast The area behind the coast is rough grassland with occasional low gorse bushes, turning to fields of cereal further inland. The lighthouse of Trevose Head attracts migrants in spring and autumn in appropriate weather. The SouthWest Coast Path closely follows the coastline and allows for good general access to the area. Constantine Bay is a sandy beach situated south of Trevose Head and under Trevose Golf Club, and Mother Ivey’s Bay and Harlyn Bay are sandy beaches to the east of the head.

 

Specific birding tips/more detailed information (based on the map above):
Historically, the best months for seawatching from Trevose Head have been August and September for Great, Cory’s, Balearic and Sooty Shearwater. Leach’s Petrels and Sabine’s Gulls are to be found later in September and into October. However any time of year can be productive given the right conditions. Seawatching is best in or immediately following westerly or northwest winds.

The coastal path and immediate scrub and fields can be explored, with certain hotspots, notably the Lighthouse and the blah blah (point A) on the map. The blah bah (another paragraph or two)

Year round: Corn Bunting, Stonechat
Winter: Red-throated Diver, Lapwing +
Summer: Guillemot, +
Spring and autumn: Migrants and vagrants (list half dozen typical including Wheatear),seabirds as above.
Rare birds: (BBRC) seen in the area include Little Shearwater, Gyr Falcon, Tawny Pipit, Siberian Stonechat, Sardinian Warbler, Pied Wheatear (Nov 2018) and Red-eyed Vireo in addition to a good list of the scarcer passage migrants.

Access: Drive west from Padstow along the B3276 etc etc The Trevose Head car park is at FD43 56F

Nearby Sites: if there are any.

Cornwall Birding Sites Home

Incomplete County Records 2018

We have now begun work on Birds in Cornwall 2018. There are a number of records where a description is needed before they can be accepted into the County Record and feature in BiC 2018. Details of these records are provided via the link below. If you have submitted one of these records you may already have been contacted by the County Recorder about providing more information or a description. If you have not yet been contacted and you recognise one of these incomplete records as being yours please do get in touch via email recorder@cbwps.org.uk or by filling out the rarity form on the CBWPS website and sending it in. Please help to keep the County Record as complete as possible!

Thanks very much,

Hilary & Phil, Editors Birds in Cornwall (BiC)

Please visit the link below on the website for the full list of records of birds required (including both date and location) throughout the year –

>County Records requiring further information in 2018<

Rarities in the county for which we still require full descriptions include such nationally rare species as Pacific Diver, Gyr Falcon, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and Red-eyed Vireo, commoner scarcities such as Black Kite, Alpine Swift, Bee-eater and Red-rumped Swallow, and county rarities including Pink-footed Goose, Long-eared Owl, Nightingale and Tree Sparrow. For the full list of 65 species and dates please see the link above.

If you saw any of these species within the County in 2018 please check out the link above and check the dates. Even if you were not the original finder it would still be very useful to receive a description, or in some cases appropriate photographic evidence in order to not lose these records from the County Record. If in doubt please contact the County Recorder as above.

djc