Windmill Farm Work Party Saturday 9th February 2019

Windmill Farm Work Party

CBWPS Cornwall Birds headed out to Windmill Farm on Saturday 9th February to carry out some habitat management for birds and other local wildlife. We were joined by students from UoE Penryn Ornithology Club.

It was a pretty dull day, with mizzle in the air, meaning we were all wearing many layers and waterproofs! But spirits were high, and we set about with loppers, saws and scythes; managing to strip bare a large section of vegetation (mainly gorse, bramble and willow) surrounding the dragonfly ponds. Leaving the banks lining the ponds bare in this manner is beneficial to invertebrate species, particularly Green Tiger Beetles. Many Toads were spotted, with a large section of the pond laced with toad spawn. The entrance area and car park were cleared of bramble and the visitor centre tidied and windows lovingly cleaned.

Before … After … And Toad Spawn

The sites nest boxes were checked for last years nests; finding both a Blue Tit and a House Sparrow nest! Fingers crossed that the boxes will be occupied this season!

We rewarded ourselves with hot drinks, biscuits, ginger cake and an afternoon of birding. Not many birds were seen onsite at Windmill Farm, so we headed over to Coverack.

Industrious volunteers … Checking the nest boxes

Windmill Farm species list:
– Herring Gull
– Magpie
– Carrion Crow
– Blue tit
– Great tit
– Skylark
– Chaffinch
– Goldfinch
– Marsh Harrier flyover (enjoyed by the select few just after the Coverack posse had left!)

It was blustery along the coastline, but we managed to spot a variety of species on and off land. It didn’t take us long to spot the Pallas’s warbler at the sewage works amongst a group of Long-tailed Tits! (Others had been there all morning and not seen it, so we were perhaps a little fortunate).

Coverack species list:
– Eider 3
– Fulmar
– Slavonian Grebe
– Grey Heron
– Gannet
– Shag
– Cormorant
– Buzzard
– Black-headed Gull
– Mediterranean Gull
– Great Black-backed Gull
– Lesser Black-backed Gull
– Kittiwake
– Guillemot
– Woodpigeon
– Raven
– Long-tailed Tit
– Chiffchaff
– Pallas’s Warbler
– Goldcrest
– Wren
– Song Thrush
– Robin
– House Sparrow
– Dunnock
– Grey Wagtail
– Pied Wagtail
– Rock Pipit

A final stop off at Goonhilly Earth Station resulted in no birds (although a dead mouse was seen), and rain starting to come in, and heavily just after we had left. You never know what you will see – a feral escaped Wallaby was seen less than a mile away the following day, and a male Hen Harrier from the viewing platform the following week.

Thank you to all that came and helped out. An enjoyable time was had by all. A very special thank you to Windmill Farm’s warden Dougy Wright and to Greg Adams for organising the workparty.

Paige Petts, 14th Feb

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