Another month has whizzed by in the Cornwall Garden Listing League, and March was definitely a month of change – the combined Cornwall list has risen to 116, and the vast majority of the 11 new additions were spring migrants.
Dave Parker continues to lead at the top of the table, now with 66 species. Matt Southam has leapfrogged Reuben Veal to hold 2nd place on 59 species, with a four-way tie between Dan Beadle, Tim Pinfield, Stu Bearhop, and a new entry from John Holmes at Penryn rounding out the top 7 on 55 species.
Bird of the month was quite possibly Ron Fullwood’s Little Gull, although Dave Parker’s Chough on 4th March and Great Skua on 22nd Feb at Marazion are also good candidates – most of us can only dream of a Skua on the garden list! Another quality bird seen was Black Redstart, which was added by Andy Blonden at Polbathic and Dave Parker at Marazion.
The first Swallow was seen from Helen Norton’s St Keverne garden on 23rd March, with Chris & Janet Duffy and John Holmes having subsequently seen one as well. Sand Martin was added by Stu Bearhop on 29th March, and Dave Parker added the first Wheatear on 5th, followed by one for Andy Blonden on 29th. As well as ticking off Mediterranean Gull on 22nd, Stu Bearhop at Perranarworthal added the first Whimbrel on 15th. More recently, the first Sandwich Tern materialised for Matt Southam at Praa Sands on 29th March, and the first Willow Warbler was seen by Chris & Janet Duffy at Dobwalls on 31st, and Willow Warbler was also a garden first for John Holmes at Penryn during the month.
There were plenty of other decent birds to be seen, with Matt Southam adding Mute Swan and Red-throated Diver, as well as the first Greylag Goose for the league. A Red Kite appeared for Brian Toms on 12th March, and clear views enabled Dan Beadle to add Shag to his garden list on 3rd, along with his second-ever Fulmar. Three more gardens added Peregrine, and Simon Marquis became the fourth lister to add Marsh Tit and Tim Pinfield the fifth to add Stock Dove. Blackcap and Chiffchaff were popular additions, and Canada Goose continued to be added by many listers. Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Chaffinch Dunnock, Wood Pigeon and Blackbird now feature on all the lists we hold, whilst only 3 gardens have had Barn Owl and only 4 have had Kestrel.
Looking ahead to April, spring migrants will be the target for many – which garden will be the first to hold House Martin, Whitethroat or Sedge Warbler? Will anyone manage something rarer, such as Hoopoe? In the immediate future, the Easter Garden Bird Race runs until Easter Monday… Good luck!