Sunday 29th March 2020

Garden Listing League: To help with those self-isolating at home and as many of us are able to spend more time in the garden this spring, we have set up a Garden Lockdown Listing League here on the website to help in keeping motivation going and improving your garden list (you may just get hooked) in these strange times. To take part just email your tally and updates to us at the usual address. Let the competition begin … 

Late news, 28/3, St Ives: 1 Red-throated Diver, 5 Common Scoter, 3 Sandwich Tern from window. (G Jones)

Truro to Newmills: 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatch, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 2 Mallard, 2 Bullfinch, 1 Grey Heron. (D Eva)

Penzance: 22 Rook nests counted, difficult to see if they are all active as they are in the tops of tall conifer trees, west end of Alverton Road next to A30 roundabout. (T Mills)

St Ives Island: 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Cormorant, 11 Shag, 10 Gannet, 2 Common Gull, 28 Herring Gull, 4 Lesser-black backed Gull, 8 Great-black backed Gull, 9 Kittiwake, 280 Fulmar (flew East), 1 Sandwich Tern (East), 2 Rock Pipit. (P Nason)

Marazion Marsh RSPB: 1 House Martin, 1 Sand Martin, 2 Shoveler. Also 1 Knot and 6 Ringed Plover on the beach. (S Rogers) Also 1 Red Kite this afternoon. (D Parker). Also 53 (6 ad) Common Gull. (J Hawkey)

St Erth: 1 Red Kite (flew East); 1 Willow Warbler, 8+ Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap all singing. (R Veal) 2 Sand Martin at Tresilliowe. (M Spicer)

Chyandour: Marsh Harrier in off the sea. (P St Pierre)

Carne Creek: 6 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Egret, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Wren. (R Nicholls)

Newquay, Trevemper /Treringey: 1 m Kestrel, 2 Skylark, 3 Raven over. (S Grose)

Porthguarnon: 2 Swallow. (J Ryan)

Swanpool: Black Tern fishing 70 yds offshore. (M Burnley)

St Ives: Black-throated Diver, 2 Common Scoter, 4 Sandwich Tern and 2 Common Dolphin leaping. (G Jones)

Birding Ideas in Lockdown: Your ‘5-a-day Bird Quiz’, and ‘An Occasional Gull Diary from Tony Mills’ – see Here on the website.

Cornwall Lockdown Diary, Day 6:

It’s barely a week since we were all instructed to stay home. Will the nerves stand it? Main excitement now is to stand solemnly in the Tesco car park for 40 minutes waiting your turn for a lonely tour of the aisles. Has to be done though.

The weather continues to smile on our sorry world. There is something odd about cloudless skies, warm air yet completely bare trees. Yes, the buds are there but the look is still winter, though it does give a good view of birds busying for the breeding season. The Nuthatch fidgets around in the treetops, his insistent call heard from a hundred yards away. Blue Tits bustle around purposefully. But now is the time for the spring arrivals. Chiffchaffs came first, as they always do, in mid-March, and now they are chiff-chaffing the whole day long. This week our Blackcaps have turned up. Lord Grey (Foreign Minister in World War 1 and lifelong bird lover) prized its song particularly highly, pipped (if that’s the right word) only by the Blackbird. The full spring song of the male Blackcap – perhaps not at its best for a few weeks yet – is a silken delight. The notes pour forth from within the young greenery as pure and delicious as honey. But the Blackcap also has rather a curious sub-song. It sounds as if it’s muttering to itself, rehearsing under its breath for a few seconds before launching into the full-volume rendition. From nervous dummy-run to full-on concert recital. Magical.

Simon Marquis

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