Wednesday 1st April 2020

Birding in Lockdown: Links to Garden Lockdown Listing League and our Birding Ideas Page, updated with your daily 5-a-day bird quiz, helping to make the most of extra time as a result of the lockdown. We now have 18 participants in our Cornwall garden listing league, but room for plenty more!

Truro, Kenwyn: 6 Jay, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Goldcrest lining nest with feathers. (D Eva)

Hayle Estuary RSPB, Lelant Saltings: 2 Spoonbill over. (S Cox)

Crackington Haven: male Yellowhammer in private garden. (J & B Teague)

Gluvian: 1 Tawny Owl, 1 Swallow, 1 Nuthatch (B Bosisto, L Payne)

Newlyn Harbour: 2cy Iceland Gull still. (L Proctor)

Lamorna: 2 Wheatear at Carn-du. (M McKee)

Marazion: 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Guillemot, 25 Common Scoter offshore; 25 Ringed Plover, 1 Knot, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover, 125+ Common Gull, fem Wheatear on the beach. 4 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail in horse paddock. (S Rogers)

Penzance: 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 calling Green Woodpecker, 2 singing Chiffchaff, 2 Buzzard on morning walk from the Lidden to Trengwainton. (T Mills)

Lizard: 1 House Martin reported.

Cot Valley: singing Willow Warbler. (N Wheatley)

Falmouth, off Swanpool Beach: 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Eider (female), 1 Kestrel hovering over cliffs. (J St Ledger)

Great Northern Diver, John St Ledger

Eider, John St Ledger

Boscathnoe Reservoir: 2 Mute Swan, 2 Canada Geese, 1 Cormorant, 1 Moorhen. (T Mills)

Drift Reservoir: 1 Water Rail. (D Flumm)

Sancreed: fem Black Redstart, 1 Snipe, 2 Redwing, 2 Little Egret. (D Flumm)

Black Redstart, Dave Flumm

Black Redstart, Dave Flumm

Carharrack to Gwennap Lane: 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Goldcrest, 4 Willow Warbler,  2 Jays. (W Chegwidden)

St Merryn: 4 House Sparrow, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Great Tit, 2 Wren, 2 Dunnock, 2 Blackbird, 2 Woodpigeon nesting in conifer tree, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Bullfinch, 1 Greenfinch, 2 Goldfinch, 4 Collared Dove, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Blackcap, 4 Jackdaw, 6 Rook, 2 Carrion Crow, 2 Raven, 1 Sparrowhawk, 70 plus Golden Plover over, 2 Magpie, 1 Jay in/from private garden. (R Hughes)

Truro: 1m Bullfinch. (L Sampson)

Bullfinch, Lawrence Sampson

Cornwall Lockdown Diary, Day 9:

It’s a good time for Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Their drumming is a signature sound of spring. Some years ago, I visited eastern Poland in April. Our bird guide there could distinguish between all the different species from their drumming sounds alone. We saw or heard Great, Middle and Lesser Spotted, Green, Black, Grey-headed, White-backed and Three-toed. Woodpecker heaven.

Sadly the Lesser Spotted lives up to its name and is indeed much less spotted in Cornwall nowadays, but the Greaters are in plentiful supply. My garden has at least one pair thanks to my neglectful approach to dead wood, and they visit the bird feeders from time to time, before whizzing away with that distinctive, bounding flight. Sometimes the drumming sounds like a short burst on the castanets, more often it’s a wooden ruler being twanged on the edge of a table (try it, it’s an exact match!). The different notes come from different trees in varying states of health. The Green Woodpecker puts in an occasional appearance too, has a good laugh at us and disappears. I’m surprised it’s not here more often given the number of ants we seem to have around the place!

Simon Marquis

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