Mostly a quiet week, with the return of some old favourites, and springs inexorable progress; a bit more variety but not particularly the numbers yet.
The Bonaparte’s Gull was still to be seen on occasion at Helston Boating Lake (22nd and 24th), with a similar aged bird on the Hayle Estuary on the 26th. The Hudsonian Whimbrel put in a surprise re-appearance on the 24th too, after an absence of several weeks, and still there on the 26th. It has wandered before – doing a recce, or perhaps spooked further along the coast for some reason?
A Great White Egret seen flying into the pines to roost on the evening of the 25th was seen by those assembled the next morning to fly off north east at 7:20am; no reports since. After the big effort to count Cattle Egrets last weekend, numbers reported were down slightly this week, although still daily. Quite possibly down to observer effort, but with birds such as the 6 on the Gannel Estuary still being there this week. A juvenile and near adult Spoonbill were on the Hayle, with 2 birds seen to fly into Maer Lake on the 21st.
130 Golden Plover at Trevedra Farm near Sennen still on the 23rd, 60 Sanderling along the beach at Marazion, 3 Greenshank and a Whimbrel remained on the Penryn River at Gorrangorras. Green Sandpipers were seen at Chapel Amble and St Erth.
2 Grey Partridge were seen at Winnards Perch on the 24th, with 2 Red-legged Partridge on the Wednesday Camel Trail Walk. Porth Reservoir saw 11 Great Crested Grebe still, with displaying birds to be seen throughout the county at suitable sites.
An immature Glaucous Gull at Portholland beach near Mevagissey had been feeding on a beached dead dolphin for about 2 weeks with another 2nd winter bird at Swanpool on the 24th. The latter site also hosted an Iceland Gull the following day, with records again scattered throughout the county; up to a dozen birds perhaps? Caspian Gulls were seen at Par on the 20th and 22nd and a Little Gull was seen past Lizard Point on the 21st.
It looks like last weeks Pink-footed Goose may have eventually pitched up at Drift, with a bird there on the 26th, with a European White-fronted Goose seen feeding on a factory roof (!) near Par in the first half of the week; but it did spend more time in the slightly more traditional location of Par Beach Pool itself.
The Lesser Scaup was still at Dozmary Pool. A pair of Mandarin turned up at Marazion Marsh on the 24th. 120 Wigeon and 1 drake Goosander (with an apparently damaged bill) remained at Hayle. 3 Greylag Geese were seen at Stithians on the 22nd, 2 at St Gothian Sands on the 26th, and a Garganey was at Lanreath on the 23rd. The drake Velvet Scoter remained off Marazion.
An early Osprey was seen sat on top of a tree between Bissoe and Cross Lanes on the 20th by a passing motorist, with Red Kite and Merlin at Bartinney on the 25th, more Merlins elsewhere and an early report of a Hobby hunting Sand Martins on the 21st at Sibleyback before being chased off by a Kestrel. This would be one of the earliest ever Hobbys reported in the county, although it should be noted that the first arrival dates of our visiting migrants are getting earlier and earlier. Birdtrack records show a scattering of birds around the country from this date onwards last week. Another 3 Red Kites were seen flying west on the morning of the 26th by egret watchers at Marazion.
Ringtail and male Hen Harriers were seen at Amalveor, with another ringtail at Men-an-Tol on the 20th, a female Marsh Harrier at Windmill Farm again, and a Short-eared Owl was seen to fly in-off the sea at St Ives on the 25th.
The RSPB Scillonian Pelagic to St Mary’s and back on the 24th saw reasonable numbers of Manx Shearwater (100+), with 2 Great Skua, Puffins and a small numbers of the smaller cetaceans (Common Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises).
Swallows and House Martins continued to be reported from scattered locations, usually in ones and twos only. Sand Martins, as to be expected this early in the season, were more widely reported, with the greatest numbers again from Drift, with 220 on the 24th.
A party of Red-rumped Swallows were reported off the coast at one location – if verified and pinned down at an accessible location they would certainly have been birds of the week. Although multiple birds have occurred in autumn there has yet to be a multiple spring occurrence in the county.
The first Ring Ouzel of the year was at St Ives on Buttermilk Hill on the 25th.
Yellow-browed Warblers remained at Swanpool and Penryn UoE campus until the 25th at least, with new birds heard in Hayle on the 23rd and at St Erth in willows alongside the lake on the 22nd. A Siberian Chiffchaff was at Marazion on the 24th.
The first Willow Warblers of the year were 3 ringed at Nanjizal on the 23rd, with the next the following day at Porthgwarra. Wheatear and Black Redstarts were reported in small numbers; no double figure counts of the former yet. A Stonechat showing features of the continental race was seen at Morvah on the 26th. A Cetti’s Warbler in song and showing well at times at Swanpool, Falmouth was apparently the first in the area since November 2001.
6 Lapland Bunting (including a nice male in summer plumage) were seen at Trevose Head on the 26th, a Corn Bunting was seen at Whipsiderry, St Enodoc Golf Course held 3 Yellowhammer and the Brambling remained at Crowlas. 2 Redwing were at St Erth.
There were 70 occupied Rook nests at Church Cove on the Lizard and Mute Swans were observed sitting, with the first eggs now laid.
The society received news of Peregrine Falcons at a number of locations, along with other Schedule 1 breeders such as Goshawk and Dartford Warbler, so they are still out there, although specific locations withheld for obvious reasons – please keep the reports coming.
Butterflies seen this week included Speckled Wood and Painted Lady. The big invertebrate news this week is the continuing sprinkling of Vagrant Emperor dragonflies with a couple of records from the Lizard and Windmill Farm in particular on the 25th. A successful reptile walk there on the 26th saw 3 Adders (2m, 1f), along with 5 Slow Worm and 2 Common Lizard.
The first week of April should see numbers and variety of summer migrants increasing; what else is on the way? It’s set to be windy again this coming week, with south westerlies and rain later.
From around the globe; Siberian Chiffchaff and Hudsonian Whimbrel – Rob Creek