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 to the file. 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 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)

There are many records of birds requiring a description either for BBRC or at county level where more information is needed, ideally from the finder. Many are unattributed sightings (sometimes of well-watched birds) where a named observer for the dates given below would be very helpful.

Now that Birds in Cornwall (BiC) has been brought up to date with the publication of the 2015-16 report, timely submission of records is essential if it is to remain so. For this reason, future editions of BiC will no longer feature incomplete records. Instead, these records will be put up on the CBWPS website on a regular basis in the hope that this will encourage observers to send in descriptions and ensure that good or important birds are not missing from the county record. The records for 2017 where more information is required can be found on the spreadsheet  HERE.

Please send any supporting details for the sightings on the dates specified to the County Recorder as soon as possible. Accepted records will then appear in the Systematic List of Birds in Cornwall 2018 and will be published in the County Bird Report.

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

>County Records requiring further information in 2018<


(The full list of species for which details are still required are:)

Pink-footed GooseRing-necked DuckSurf ScoterLeach's Petrel
Wilson's Petrel
Pacific DiverCattle Egret
Great White Egret
Purple HeronBlack Kite
Honey BuzzardMontagu's HarrierCorncrakeSpotted Crake
Common Crane
Lesser Yellowlegs
Pectoral Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper
Stone Curlew
Long-tailed Skua
Roseate Tern
American Herring GullBonaparte's Gull
Caspian Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Sabine's Gull
Iceland Gull (Kumlien's)Black GuillemotLittle Owl
Long-eared Owl
Alpine Swift
Pallid Swift
Bee-eaterLesser Spotted Woodpecker
Gyr FalconRing-necked Parakeet
Golden OrioleBrown ShrikeHooded Crow
Penduline Tit
Red-rumped SwallowMelodious WarblerSubalpine Warbler (Eastern)
Pallas's Warbler
Barred Warbler
Chiffchaff (Siberian - tristis)Dusky WarblerEastern Olivaceous Warbler
Wood Warbler
Hume's Warbler
Iberian Chiffchaff
Red-breasted Flycatcher
Rose-coloured Starling
Citrine Wagtail
Buff-bellied Pipit
Olive-backed Pipit
Tawny Pipit
Tree Sparrow
Common Rosefinch
HawfinchLittle BuntingOrtolan BuntingRed-eyed Vireo

If you saw any of these species within the County within 2018 please do 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.


Saturday 9th November 2019

CBWPS Development Day 2019: Today, Saturday 9th November. An opportunity for members to meet with the board and help to set the focus and agenda for the society for the coming years. St Erme Community Centre, Trispen TR4 9BD from 11:30am – 15:00pm. More information here:

Sennen: Paddyfield Pipit and American Buff-bellied Pipit still present in cut maize field behind the shop at c.SW3612572. View only from public footpath from 4th field southwest of Sennen School, please park sensibly and do not obstruct the minor road. As per the landowners request please do not walk in the field.

Helston: Adult drake Lesser Scaup still plus female aythya hybrid, wing-clipped Ferruginous Duck, 30 Tufted Duck & 6 Shoveler at the boating lake. Also 10 Goldcrest, 4 Firecrest, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 possible Siberian Chiffchaff, 2 Long-tailed Tit, Pied Wagtails & 1 Grey Wagtail nearby. (S Windle)

Goldcrest – Stevan Windle

Firecrest – Stevan Windle

Possible Siberian Chiffchaff – Stevan Windle

Truro River : 1 Kingfisher, 3 Little Grebe, 1 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 59 Teal, 45 Curlew, 20 Shelduck, 8 Oystercatcher, 113 Black headed Gull, 68 Redshank, 19 Black tailed Godwit, 15 Bar tailed Godwit, 20 Fieldfare from tesco/ sunny corner villa. (S Grose)

Truro: 2 Firecrest in the lower branches of leylandii trees behind the “Wig&Pen” pub. (S Grose)

Hayle Estuary: 1 Little Stint again on Ryan’s Field. Re-identified as a Dunlin from photos. Also 2 Yellow-legged Gull (J Hicks)

Towan Head: 1 Eastern type Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Common Scoter, 5 Teal. (S Rowe)

Eastern Lesser Whitethroat – Steve Rowe

Eastern Lesser Whitethroat – Steve Rowe

Porth Joke: 1 Goosander. (S Rowe)

Helford River: 5 Cattle Egret at Tremayne Quay. (M Nattrass)

Falmouth: Pallas’s Warbler in Wood Lane briefly this morning, last seen in Fox’s Gardens. (M Southam)

Swanpool: 2 Little Grebe, 1 Water Rail, 1 Firecrest, 2 Bullfinch. (S Grose)

Feock Church: 2 Brambling, 1 m Blackcap, 1 Tawney Owl,11 Greenfinch. (S Grose)

Gannel Estuary: 1 Water Pipit, 24 Rock Pipit, 3 Common Sandpiper, 10 Redshank. (S Rowe)

Stithians Reservoir: Female Scaup and 3 Goldeneye from the causeway. (M Pass)

Men-an-Tol: 2 Bunting species, 1 Snow Bunting and 1 possible Lapland Bunting (J Evans)

Longrock: 1 Barn Owl over bypass. (R Veal)

Lower Tamar Lake: 9 Goosander 4m 5f, 9 Willow Tit, 4 Marsh Tit, 1 Little Egret, 12 Tufted Duck, 15 Fieldfare, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 9 Long-tailed Tit. (R Mudge)

Kenidjack: 2 Black Redstart. (J Hicks)

Pendeen: Heavy auk passage west 15:30 to 15:45. Kittiwake numbers picked up whilst watching, with about 300 all told. Also 20 Fulmar, 6 Common Scoter, 4 Great Skua 1 Great Northern Diver close in on the sea.


Friday 8th November 2019

CBWPS Development Day 2019: This Saturday 9th November. An opportunity for members to meet with the board and help to set the focus and agenda for the society for the coming years. St Erme Community Centre, Trispen TR4 9BD from 11:30am – 15:00pm. More information here:

Late news, 7/11, Walmsley Sanctuary (key holders only: 2 Little Grebe, 5 Cattle Egret, 1 Little Egret, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Pink-footed Goose, Canada Geese, 3 Grey Heron, Mallards, 3 Gadwall, 2 Pintail, 7 Shoveller, c50 Widgeon, c 100 Teal, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzards, 1 Pheasant, 4 Moorhen, 100+ Golden Plover, 38 Lapwing, 1 Spotted Redshank, c25 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, c50 Curlew, 3 Ruff, 1 Snipe, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker,1 Herring Gull, 3 Water Pipit, 2 Meadow Pipit, 1 Wren, 1 Dunnock, 1 Stonechat, c40 Redwing, c50 Fieldfare, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Blue Tit, 5 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Great Tit, 1 Magpie, 2 Jay, Jackdaws, Rooks, Crows, 100+ Starlings, 15 Goldfinch. ( A. Parker et al )

Walmsley Sanctuary (key holders only: 1 Pink-footed Goose. (D Julian)

Sennen: Paddyfield Pipit still present in cut maize field behind the shop at c.SW3612572 also Stock Dove. ( B Bosisto L Payne) American Buff-bellied Pipit reported early morning only. View only from public footpath from 4th field southwest of Sennen School, please park sensibly and do not obstruct the minor road. As per the landowners request please do not walk in the field. (More on this bird can be found in the Paddyfield Pipit Article on the website (with an update 07/11/19 on the latest news and a link to a gallery of images))

Paddyfield Pipit – Paul Ash

Paddyfield Pipit – Paul Ash

Paddyfield Pipit – Paul Ash

Sennen: Black Redstart on roof of Sennen Rise Hotel. (R Treeby)

Helston Boating Lake: Adult drake Lesser Scaup still plus female aythya hybrid. (R Veal et al.)

Helston Sewage Works: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 Firecrest. (R Veal, R Augarde)

Helston, Loe Pool: 1 Goosander, 17 (14 drk) Pochard, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 11 Firecrest, c45 Goldcrest, 1 Treecreeper, 2 Nuthatch, 5+ Siskin, c60 Stock Dove, 9+ Chiffchaff (including 1 singing). (R Veal)

Gannel Estuary: 107 Curlew, 1 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 3 Oystercatcher, 1 Grey Heron, 6 Little Egret, 1 Little Grebe. (S Grose)

Newquay, Towan Beach: 4 Common Gull, 2 Chough & 1 Peregrine Falcon over. (S Grose)

Porth Reservoir: 1 Little Grebe, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Tufted Duck m&f, 24 Coot, 8 Moorhen, 58 Mallard, 3 Cormorant, 1 f Goldeneye, 1 Scaup, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Grey Heron,1 m Bullfinch, 11 Fieldfare. (S Grose)

Wadebridge: Drake Mandarin on the river Camel. (C Davies) Also Black Redstart at Town Quay. (D Julian)

Mandarin – Charles Davies

Truro: 2 Firecrest in a private garden. (P Dinning)

Swanpool: 13 Common Scoter in the bay, 2 Pochard, 2 Firecrest, 2 Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap. (J Irvine) Also Firecrest in willows by car park (G Wills) Siberian Chiffchaff also reported in willows by car park.

Swanvale: Yellow-browed Warbler calling. (G Wills)

Maenporth: 3 Great Northern Divers (G Wills)

Falmouth, Longfield: F/1st winter Black Redstart (G Wills)

Marazion: 6 Swallow hawking along beach. (P Gay)

Marazion Marsh RSPB: One Bittern this evening, seen in flight twice during Starling murmuration around 17:15. (L Hallett) 10 Swallow roosted in the marsh. (B Bosisto L Payne)

Penzance, Jubilee Pool: 7 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Turnstone at high tide this afternoon. (P Taylor)

Purple Sandpiper – Phil Taylor

Sancreed: 1 Merlin, 6 Lapwing, c200 Woodpigeon west, 20 Skylark. (D Flumm)

Porthcurno: 2 Firecrest, 6 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap, 50+ Blackbird, 30+ Song Thrush, 1 Woodcock, 1 Snipe, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Bullfinch and 1 Swallow. Also c250 Wood Pigeon, c80 Stock Dove, 12 Lapwing, c200 Chaffinch, c20 Skylark and 2 Jay over, mostly heading North and East. (DK Parker)

Porthgwarra: Eastern type Lesser Whitethroat again, 2+ Firecrest, c10 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff all in the car park sallows. (DK Parker) 2 Water Rail,  4 Firecrest, 1 presumed Siberian Chiffchaff (not calling) , 1 Common Snipe ( B Bosisto L Payne)

Chapel Amble: 8 Cattle Egret, 5 Water Pipit and male Ring Ouzel this morning. 1000+ Fieldfare in valley. (D Julian)

Nanjizal: 118 birds ringed including 43 Goldcrest, 12 Firecrest, 17 Chiffchaff, 24 Blackcap. Also 7 Swallow, 5 Woodcock seen. (K Wilson)

Gerrans Bay: 5 Black-throated Diver, 12 Great Northern Diver, 41 Mediterranean Gull between Pendower and Portscatho. (J St Ledger)

Great Northern Diver – John St Ledger

Brambling – John St Ledger

Portscatho: 1 Brambling, feeding on sunflower seeds with Chaffinch, opposite car park. (J St Ledger)

Hayley Kimbro: 1 (dead) Vagrant Emperor. (R Curtis)

Vagrant Emperor – R Curtis

Lizard: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler plus 1 Siberian Chiffchaff at Lizard Head early morning. (I Maclean)

Housel: 1 Siberian Chiffchaff  1 Firecrest. (I Maclean)

Old Lizard Head: 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose. (I Maclean)

Lelant: Leucistic Robin. (D Wright)

Leucistic Robin – Dougy Wright

Carbis Bay: 2 Great Northern Divers. (D Wright)

St Ives Island: 21 Brent Geese past South. (C Oates)

Brent Geese – Chris Oates

Dobwalls: 1 Chiffchaff in the garden and 10 Collared Doves on our bird feeders (C&J Duffy)


November 2019 News

Paddyfield Pipit; a first for the WP?: An article here on the website giving some background information on the species and the account thus far:- Paddyfield Pipit in Cornwall; 23rd October 2019

For Sale: An Opticron telescope lens for sale. Sold as unused and in original box. Offers. All proceeds will be donated to CBWPS. Buyer collects. Contact details HERE

CBWPS Development Day 2019: This Saturday 9th November. An opportunity for members to meet with the board and to help set the focus and agenda for the society for the coming years. We hope that the Development Day will be an informal event that will inspire, inform and engage, so please do join us and have your say! St Erme Community Centre, Trispen TR4 9BD from 11:30am – 15:00pm. More information HERE

Development Day 2019 – It was in 2016 that we ran the last Development Day, asking members to help us set the agenda for where we wanted the Society to be heading. This was a great success and we identified several areas that we should be focusing on as the board of the Society. Some of these we’ve been able to develop and some we haven’t, so this is a chance for us to review where we’ve got to and where we should be heading. So I hope you’ll be able to join us in November to set the new agenda and ensure that we’re doing what you, our members, want us to be doing.

In 2016, our discussions highlighted some of the below:

The need to shout louder
Review of our membership
Making the most of our reserves
A more identifiable and modern ‘brand’
Survey events, Conferences, Training, Walks/talks, Surveys

Have we achieved what we wanted to since then and are these still our priorities? Or do we take a conservation lead
and look to be more proactive and think bigger? The State of Nature 2019 report highlights key areas for conservation in the UK, so are these relevant to a small Society?:

  • Conserving special places
  • Restoring landscapes
  • Focusing on species
  • Resources for conservation (“we must remember that the most successful conservation action arises from partnerships, across governments, charities, business, landowners and individuals working together.”)
  • Connection to nature

We hope that the Development Day will be an informal event that will inspire, inform and engage, so please do join us!

9th November, 11:30am – 15:00pm, St Erme Community Centre, Trispen TR4 9BD

Mark Grantham, CBWPS CornwallBirds Chairman

For Sale: An Opticron telescope lens for sale. Sold as unused and in original box. Offers. All proceeds will be donated to CBWPS. Buyer collects. Contact John Hawkey on 07875543347

Swanpool Walk, 3rd Nov 2019

It was a select group of discerning birders who met up for the 3rd November Swanpool walk … maybe the relatively early Sunday morning start or poor weather forecast over the weekend had put people off, but the right people were there perhaps …

We started off with a quick scan of the main pool whilst we waited to see if anyone else would arrive and then started to make our way around the western side of Swanpool – it was relatively quiet however and it wasn’t until we reached the northern end that we encountered the first slightly more interesting birds – a couple of Chiffchaff in the sallows in the sunshine. Not long after a nice female Great Spotted Woodpecker flew in and showed well in a dead tree.

It was decided to head up through the cemetery, as this might give us another chance of birds such as Firecrest. Almost immediately upon entering, some of us did indeed briefly see a Firecrest in the conifers. Once through the cemetery and along the top path we had good views looking down on Swanpool, and added a Grey Heron and 2 Pochard, a male and female, to our day list. Whilst watching them we picked up the distinctive overhead call of Skylarks moving, and indeed, managed to espy 9 flying high and westwards.

Hitting the coast path we encountered a good sized House Sparrow flock and picked up the small flock of 4 Common Scoter which had been present a couple of days in our bins. The tide was up and Swanpool Point was still mostly under water. Back at Swanpool Beach and another squally shower was coming in, so instead of heading around to the rocks and scoping the sea we got straight back into our cars and headed for Pendennis Point at the other end of the Falmouth coast.

Here another shower forced us into ‘Little Pendennis’, a small fortified outpost guarding the Carrick Roads from the time of the Napoleonic Wars. This was somewhat fortuitous, because just outside one of the open stone windows a tidy flock of 9 Turnstone were busily grazing the seaweedy rocks for invertebrates. Out again when it had passed, and we managed to pick up a distant Great Northern Diver below St Anthony’s Lighthouse; aside a few Gannets passing the sea was pretty quiet. A Common Gull and a fly through Little Egret graced the Carrick Roads. A pair of Stonechat was nice in the bramble scrub just behind us, and we enjoyed good views of both Rock and Meadow pipits working the rocks.

Final stop was Castle Beach, nestled in at the base of Pendennis. 2 Mediterranean Gulls were on the sea with a few Black-headed Gulls, and a Little Egret entertained ‘paddling’ the shallows; disturbing small invertebrates and sea life in a rockpool ready to be snatched up. Otherwise it was quiet (no Black Redstarts unfortunately), but very seaweedy and slippery on the rocks.

An enjoyable morning walk and bird, with some interesting winter birds seen, even if not all of the hoped-for species were to be seen on the day.

Leaders Dan Chaney and Lucy Mooney. We hope to do another Swanpool/Falmouth Coast walk later in the winter.

Friday 1st November 2019

Porth Joke late migrants walk: Saturday 2nd November cancelled due to poor weather forecast.

Late News, 31/10, Whitecross, Newquay: 4 Stonechat, 6 Robin, 60+ Fieldfare, 4 Song Thrush, 4 Blackbird, 8 Meadow Pipit, 30+ Skylark, 3 Yellowhammer, 20+ Chaffinch, 6 Goldfinch, 2 Coal Tit, 6 Great Tit, 6 Blue Tit, 5 Goldcrest, 15 Sparrow and 1 Buzzard. (S & D Thomas)

Sennen: Presumed adult Paddyfield Pipit and American Buff-bellied Pipit both still present in cut maize field behind the shop at c.SW361257. (P Aley et al.) View from public footpath from 4th field South West of Sennen school, please park sensibly and do not obstruct the minor road.

Sound recording of Paddyfield Pipit by Mashuq Ahmad here

American Buff-bellied Pipit – Philip Carter

Walmsley Sanctuary:Scaup, 27 Cattle Egret. (J St Ledger)

Illogan: Ring-necked Parakeet over field, chased by 5 Jackdaw at 08:00 (J Baker)

Lizard, Kynance Cove: Red-breasted Flycatcher in trees near the café. Church Cove: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler. (D Collins)

The Lizard: 1 American Golden Plover heard flying South. Also 1 Dotterel still. (per M Pass)

Land’s End: 1m Red-breasted Flycatcher at Treeve Moor House. (K Wilson)

Cot Valley: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 Black Redstart. (M Ahmad)

Wadebridge, Guineaport: 1m Mandarin with Mallard on the river at 07:45am.(S Grose)

Towan Head, Newquay: 2 Chough, unringed, behind Headland Hotel, small raft of Common Scoter (20+) from Point at 08:30 (M Lammas)

Tywardreath: Coal Tit (same bird on each occasion) – visiting garden feeder 4 times and hiding food in various locations in garden, 09:35. (R Barlow)

Lostwithiel: Water Rail beside the river this morning (M Surgey)

St Enodoc Golf Course: 5 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Skylark, 1m Yellowhammer, 1m Blackcap, 7 Song Thrush, 56 Rook. (S Grose)

Mabe Burnthouse: 1 Firecrest, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 1f Blackcap, 41 Starling, 16 Goldfinch, 5+ Redwing in private garden. (D Chaney)

Drift Reservoir (members only): 1 female Common Scoter, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Coot, 4 Fieldfare. (R Veal)

Marazion: 1 Snow Bunting reported again on the beach. Also 3 Swallow, c90 Common Scoter. (R Veal) 1 imm Black Redstart in gardens along Green Lane. (DK Parker)

Newbridge: 1 Woodcock. (P Fraser)

Penzance: 1 Merlin over Morrab Gardens this afternoon (J Evans)

Wadebridge, Rivendell Estate:  12 Long-tailed Tit on feeders in back garden. (N Greaves)

Charlestown: 1m Blackcap (D Hastilow)


2019 AGM Report and Illustrated Talk

From the Falklands to the Arctic …

Another well attended Cornwall Birds AGM took place on Saturday 13th July at Stithians Lake Watersports Centre. Chair Mark Grantham took members through the formal business, including welcoming Membership Secretary, Carol Hughes, updates on Middle Amble Marsh and presentation of the CBWPS accounts for 2018. Of special interest were the recent cuts in conservation work by the RSPB, as a result of which Cornwall Birds has taken on maintenance of the Chough sightings database. There is concern about the work done so far with Corn Buntings and members asked that we try to work with landowners help protect the remaining population in North Cornwall. The formal business concluded with the election of David Collins from Constantine as a new Board member. David is a professional ecologist and long-time birdwatcher. Welcome David!

Following the formal business, we were treated to Keith Cowiesons’ excellent semi-autobiographical talk ‘From the Falklands to the Arctic’. Highlights included Penguins everywhere in the Falklands, being dive bombed by Great Skuas, hand feeding a Swallow chick in Afghanistan and a Snow Bunting nesting under a toilet seat in Svalbard. Keith clearly showed the threat to seabirds from plastic and demonstrated how numbers of species such as Arctic Skua and Kittiwake are declining. Keith closed his informative and entertaining talk by reminding us of the fantastic birds we have on our doorstep in Cornwall, where Peregrine Falcons, Choughs and Corn Buntings can all be seen.

Refreshments were enjoyed, and it was a good opportunity for society members to meet from all parts of the county.Over £110 was also raised for the Society from the sale of books from the estate of Steven Pilbeam.

Q and A with Keith Cowieson (click on the images for slideshow):

Cornwall Birds asks: What camera makes (and setup) did you use?

Keith replies: I have always used a Pentax camera going way back to their ‘Spotmatic’, one of the early single-lens-reflex models, coupled with various Tamron telephoto lens up to 500mm, although most of my recent stuff has been taken with a 300mm which is a nice compromise between magnification and weight/portability – important when on the hills. However, I am thinking of moving up to a full-frame DSLR and that may rule out Pentax/Tamron combos in future, so who knows….


Bonxies (Great Skuas)

King Penguins squabbling

Dotterel female

Cornwall Birds asks:What would you say was your favourite bird and why?

Keith replies: I have always had a special liking for seabirds – hence all the skuas and terns, but I do like upland birds too, particularly waders, whose nests can be quite a challenge to find, let alone photograph.

Bonxie attack (defence)

Cornwall Birds asks: Do you have any regrets you didn’t get posted to any sub-tropical regions with eg lots of Rainforest birds??!!

Keith replies: As you probably gather, I am very much a man of the temperate/colder regions, so was not at all sad to have never served in the tropics etc I am not a great fan of 100% humidity and in any case the UK was withdrawing from east of Suez when I joined the military, so there was no option of serving in Singapore, Malaya, Hong Kong, Borneo or Belize etc for someone with my specialisation. I enjoy being on the moors and mountains, so the Cold War NATO focus of the Northern Flank suited me perfectly.

Keith Cowieson
RAFOS Field Activities Liaison Officer

King Penguin incubating