Sunday, 14 May 2017

Butterflies at Penhale and a White Stork on the Goss Moor

Today I met up with a friend from work and joined up with a Cornwall butterfly field trip at Penhale Sands near Perranporth. I was hoping to see Grizzled Skipper ( this is the only site in Cornwall for this species) but they are very scarce even here and are so small and difficult to locate that I wasn't sure we would see them. However after only 5 minutes of searching the group had found several of these smart little butterflies, even a couple of Taras individuals, a rare variant that has much more white in it's wings. The rest of the morning was spent exploring the dunes and learning from the experts about different moths and butterflies and seeing a stunning Emperor Moth which was my highlight. I was also keeping an eye out for birds and saw several Common Whitethroats, a singing Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Chiff chaffs , 2 Willow Warblers and 2 Swifts. 

Brown Argus

Grizzled Skipper

Dingy Skipper

Emperor Moth

Grizzled Skipper (Taras)

Garden Tiger Moth catterpillar , somewhat Porcupine like!

After lunch I met up with Pete to do some more ringing on the Goss Moor, we decided to set up at Tregoss and as we where putting up the first net  up we could hear a lot of commotion from a flock of gulls feeding in a ploughed field . They where really shouting and as they spiralled I could see a large bird just above them, foolishly I had left my binoculars with the rest of the ringing gear so I started to sprint back towards the car as this was certainly going to be something good ( A Crane or a Stork?)! I quickly picked up my binoculars and after getting my bearings I locked onto a large bird flying just above the skyline with deep slow wing beats, as it turned side on I shouted White Stork! This stunning bird however didn't stop for long and was soon heading east and gaining height, we jumped in the car and headed back towards Roche, checking any vantage point to hopefully see it again but sadly we did not, it was the first White Stork I have found in the county and a new bird for Pete! And a day we will remember for a long time....

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Lands End

I had half a day birding at Lands End today before heading home to catch up on work....

It was nice to see a variety of common migrants and to hear and see my first Lesser Whitethroat of the year. Wheatear's where in better numbers than usual with 25 spotted , I also saw the hybrid Crow x Hooded Crow which is a good learning bird and definitely not pure when compared with the Hoody seen at Trevose Head earlier in the spring...

Grey on the mantle would extend further down the back if it was a pure Hoody

It has the oak leaf pattern on the breast but in a pure bird the grey would extend beyond the breast all the way to the undertail coverts, I have seen similar birds in central Scotland in the past...

Spring Birding on The Lizard

It's been too long since I've written on the blog but now I've finished writing the Gull section of the CBWPS bird report I have my life back! And some spare writing time....

I have a long weekend off so I wanting to make the most of the fine weather I headed to the Lizard today. It was so picturesque down there and whilst I had to work hard for the birds I saw it was a pretty good day. Numbers of common migrants are still very low though , maybe they are just moving straight through in the fine weather?

Dartford Warbler in the distance

Despite it being an hours drive from home I was birding by 6:45am and started my day at Lizard Point. Most of the decent sightings I had were over the sea with 2 Great Northern Divers and a variety of waders moving through early on. Even though the land was quiet I enjoyed watching a Woodchat Shrike perched up on a hedgerow and at times it was swooping down and hovering over the ploughed field next to the village. They really are stunning birds and after a few years without seeing one I have now seen two Woodchat's this spring. It only showed for 10 minutes in the early morning and despite a fair bit of searching I couldn't track it down. Interestingly I bumped into Tony Blundon and he thought it could be a new bird in ( as the Woodchat from earlier in the week hadn't been seen for a few days), hopefully he saw it later in the day but my gut was that it moved straight through.

The rest of the morning was slow but in the fine weather it didn't matter, it was just nice to be out walking, I visited Caerthillian Cove, Kynance Cove and Windmill Farm without seeing too much. On the way to Goonhilly I chanced upon a female Redstart near Ruan Minor which was a nice year tick...

I spent the whole afternoon scanning for raptors at Goonhilly Downs and whilst I only saw Buzzards, Kestrels and Sparrowhawks I was still lucky with other birds. My first two Cuckoos of the year where calling all the time and I had some flight views too, it's always nice to see one.  Last but not least a Little Ringed Plover flew over Croft Pascoe Pool calling. On the walk back I guess it was nice to see an Adder even if I did nearly stand on it! There where a couple of frustrating moments today too , a large raptor at Windmill Farm was probably a Red Kite but in the heat haze I couldn't be sure enough to claim it, also a darter type Dragonfly at Croft Pascoe was probably a Red-veined given the time of year but again the views were not good enough to claim it, still I saw a fair bit and it was a lovely day out so no complaints!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Saturday 18th Feb

I haven't done so much birding in the week as work has been crazy but I did see a ringtail Hen Harrier  on Caerhays Estate and a Siskin at Penwithick when I've been out driving vans . Today I spent some time birding and the rest of the day chilling with my family .

14th Feb

Ringtail Hen Harrier near to Rosevine on the Caerhays Estate quartering a set aside field .

16th Feb

Penwithick - 1 Siskin

18th Feb

Carnanton Woods - 5 Treecreeper , 2 Nuthatch , 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker , 1 Marsh Tit , 40 Redwing , 2 Mistle Thrush , 1 Dipper , 1 Chiff chaff

St Columb Sewage Works - 1 Yellow-browed Warbler , 10 Chiff Chaff , 1 Siberian Chiff Chaff ( got some nice photos of this bird , will post tomorrow ) , 23 Goldcrest , 2 Fieldfare , 18 Redwing , 1 Grey Wagtail .

Pinkson Creek - 50 Little Egret and 2 Cattle Egret roosting tonight ( I hoped for more Cattle Egrets but seeing all the Little Egrets was a lovely sight ) . Also 1 Peregrine and 4 Adult Med Gull .

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Sightings this week

Pete and myself have been out a bit this week around work and on the weekend , I have been doing some of the Willow tit survey on the goss moor whilst Pete has also done some ringing... Highlights have included:

Wednesday 8th February


8 Woodcock

Thursday 9th February

Goss Moor

1 singing male Dartford Warbler

Friday 10th February

Rosenannon Downs

2 Merlin
3 Tawny Owl
1 Short eared Owl

Saturday 11th February

Goss Moor

2 Willow Tit ( 1 ringed by Pete )
1 Marsh Tit ( ringed by Pete )
1 Waxwing - seen near to Belowda at 9:20 am , relocated at castle caravan park opposite Castle An Dinas at 12pm but no sign since.

Hayle Estuary

1 juv Spoonbill
1 1st winter Ring-billed Gull
1 Avocet
1 Peregrine

Sunday 12th February

Walmsley Sanctuary

1 Barnacle Goose
2 Spoonbill
4 Water Pipit
1 Peregrine Falcon
3 Ruff

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Divers and Grebes on the south coast

I spent the day checking St Austell Bay , Veryan Bay and Gerrans Bay . It was pretty good to be honest and I ended up with a nice variety of birds :


2 Grey Wagtail

St Austell Bay

33 Great Northern Diver
6 Black throated Diver
1 Red throated Diver
2 Great crested Grebe
3 Slavonian Grebe
39 Common Scoter
1 drake Velvet Scoter ( view from Polkerris )


1 adult Med Gull


4 adult Med Gull
1 Grey Wagtail

Hemmick Beach

1 Grey Wagtail


22 Med Gull ( 3,2,17)
2 Common Snipe

Veryan Bay

12 Great Northern Diver
15 Black throated Diver
1 Red throated Diver
3 Slavonian Grebe


2 adult Med Gull
1 Porpoise

Gerrans Bay

39 Great Northern Diver
1 Black throated Diver
1 Red-necked Grebe
7 Common Scoter
1 Long-tailed Duck ( off of Portscatho )


15 Med Gull
1 Whimbrel
1 Chough ( feeding in sheep field above the beach )
1 Grey Wagtail
1 Bottle nosed Dolphin


1 Whimbrel
1 Common Redshank
5 Dunlin
52 Turnstone
8 Med Gull ( 1,1,6 )
1 Cirl Bunting

Ruan Lanihorne

129 Wigeon
1 Great spotted Woodpecker

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Lapland Buntings and Glaucous Gull

I started today at Mawgan Porth looking for Chough's near Bre Pen Farm but the only sighting of note was a group of 11 Rock Pipits feeding together in a sheep field, they were all nominate Petrosus but I will look here again in the spring for a Scandinavian. On the marsh at Mawgan Porth there is finally a bit of water with 40 Wigeon, 139 Teal, 38 Curlew and 2 Oystercatcher feeding in the shallow water.

I had a quick look at Park Head for Chough but again I lucked out, also rather disappointingly there are no set aside fields here so no flocks of finches and buntings this year. Porthcothan is always a good spot for wintering passerines, especially around the car park and this year I was pleased to find a nice Siberian Chiffchaff feeding around the tamarisk and small gardens. I noticed in last years Cornwall bird report that CBWPS don't separate records of Abietinus (  northern Chiffchaff ) and Tristis ( Siberian Chiffchaff ) stating that they are too similar to seperate safely. This bird was 100% Tristis and I think it is straightforward enough to claim a true Siberian Chiff chaff if you are familiar with them and you listen for calls. A grey brown Chiffchaff with some green colouration in the wings ( especially tertials) a nice strong supercilium, thin wing bar and best of all a bullfinch like soft call are features I look for. Abietinus Chiffchaff is very clean grey and white looking with a Swee-oo type call. I will try and do some sound recording in the next month to show what I mean.

Today was calm enough to check Trevose Head properly for the first time and I set out to walk all of the stubble fields and do a proper count. I was staggered with the amount of Lapland Buntings that are here this year and I finished with an impressive 84 birds! I also counted: 386 Skylark, 18 Meadow Pipit, 381 Linnet, 11 Corn Bunting, 40 Chaffinch, 7 Yellowhammer, 1 Peregrine Falcon, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Red-throated Diver and a 1st Winter Glaucous Gull.

Amazingly these are nearly all Lapland Buntings

Lapland Bunting zoomed in

Corn Bunting

You don't need to walk the fields to see the Lapland Buntings, some of the flock feed on the road towards the top car park and perch on the wire fence, I'm going to count them every 2-3 weeks to avoid disturbing them too much.

Meadow Pipit

I spent the rest of the afternoon in the hide at Chaple Amble sheltering from the heavy rain, 3 Shelduck, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Redshank, 2 Little Egret and 2 Stock Dove were notable amongst the waders and wildfowl. Last stop of the day was the Camel Estuary with 1 Spotted Redshank on show amongst hundreds of winter waders...