Sunday, 29 January 2017

10 Cattle Egrets at Coswarth and Iceland Gull

With all the rain and wind today we where in no rush to go birding, so Pete and myself headed out at lunchtime to search for Cattle Egrets as it would be a year tick for him. We drove around farmland between Indian Queens and Newquay and found 10 Cattle Egrets feeding in a kale field at Coswarth. If you drive towards St Columb Road from Newquay , turn right at Mountjoy, go over the level crossing , past a farm on your right and from the next gateway the birds are happily feeding amongst cattle. Maybe they are the birds that are roosting on the Gannel ? It was nice to solve the puzzle as to where the Cattle Egrets are in the day time and it's worth visiting if you wanted prolonged views as they are a joy to watch and a special find in Cornwall even if we are in the middle of an influx...

Also seen today were:

Porth Reservoir - 1 Juv Iceland Gull, 1 Kingfisher, 7 Great crested Grebe, 6 Tufted Duck, 1 Great spotted Woodpecker

Gannel Estuary- 1 Water Pipit, color ringed Great Black Backed Gull from the Thames Estuary.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

North Coast Birding

Really good day out today , made it to 150 for the year already ....

St Merryn

2 Cattle Egret - feeding with cattle opposite the Atlantic Bay holiday resort
1 Yellowhammer

Trevose Head

641 Kittiwake, 2 Manx Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 2 Red-throated Diver, 4 Great Skua, 4 Yellowhammer, 2 Lapland Bunting


1 Grey Wagtail

Maer Lake

178 Wigeon, 107 Teal, 9 Dunlin, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 15 Common Snipe, 562 Golden Plover, 30 Curlew, 1 Water Rail

Bude Marshes

2 Cattle Egret, 2 Shoveler, 2 Water Rail


1 drake Goosander - on the pool next to the cafe near to the A39


1 Grey Wagtail

Walmsley Sanctuary ( too many birds to concentrate on - a real spectacle)

1 Cattle Egret, 2 Little Egret, 3 Spoonbill ( 2 Adult , 1 Juvenile), 1 Barnacle Goose
408 Wigeon, 234 Teal, 27 Gadwall, 22 Shoveler, 13 Pintail, 40 Mallard, 2 Ruff, 75 Curlew
115 Black-tailed Godwit, 120 Lapwing, 700 Golden Plover, 1 Greenshank, 78 Common Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 10 Common Snipe, 432 Dunlin,1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Chiffchaff

Goldcrest return!

I had some very welcome mail waiting for me in my inbox today! It was the return information of the Goldcrest that I controlled way back in November.

Looking very healthy considering the colossal journey that it had just undertaken!

It was first ringed at Grimston, East riding of Yorkshire on the 25th of October. 19 days later on the 13th of November it had turned up at the Goss Moor, Cornwall.

A remarkable long distance movement of 312 miles! To put that into perspective it is only 123 miles from the Goss Moor to the shores of France, with Nantes actually being closer in a straight line!

All of this from a bird that weighs less than 6 grams, it never fails to amaze me that such a tiny bird can travel such incredible distances.................

Sunday, 22 January 2017

East Cornwall

Still neglecting the blog a bit , my computer time being tied up with writing a section of the bird report. However the birding is going great and I'm up to 145 species for the year in the county!

Today's sightings with Pete:

Lynher Estuary

Sconner Farm

2 Avocet , 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Red breasted Merganser, 134 Wigeon, 1 Dark bellied Brent Goose , 2 Little Grebe, 50 Redwing

Wacker Quay

6 Avocet, 9 Great crested Grebe, 1 Pintail, 466 Teal, 8 Wigeon, 146 Shelduck, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Common Sandpiper


14 Shelduck, 35 Teal , 2 Wigeon, 1 Whimbrel, 11 Redshank, 3 Common Gull

St Johns Lake

2 Dark bellied Brent Goose, 5 Pale bellied Brent Goose, 2 Long-tailed Duck ( male and female),  2 Red breasted Merganser, 6 Great crested Grebe, 1 Sandwich Tern, 2 Adult Med Gulls, 20 Turnstone, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Kingfisher, 


18 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Greenshank, 1 Dunlin, 37 Redshank, 1 Whimbrel, 76 Teal, 7 Wigeon, 6 Med Gull, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Egyptian Goose, 20 Little Egret

Kingsmill Lake

24 Avocet, 47 Black tailed Godwit, 1 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 89 Dunlin, 1 Pintail, 150 Wigeon, 79 Shelduck, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Barnacle Goose


1 Black Redstart, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Little Egret, 1 Turnstone, 1 Ringed Plover


1 Barn Owl


1 Tawny Owl

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Bodmin Moor 21st January

Sightings today on Bodmin Moor:

Upper Fowey Valley

1 Siskin
8 Greenfinch
20 Chaffinch
1 Linnet
2 Common Crossbill
3 Bullfinch
12 Goldfinch
1 Fieldfare
20 Redwing
1 Mistle Thrush
1 Green Woodpecker
3 Great spotted Woodpecker
1 Willow Tit
1 Treecreeper
1 Common Snipe

Golitha Falls

1 Nuthatch
1 Treecreeper
1 Grey Wagtail

Siblyback Lake

29 Common Teal
1 Wigeon
1 female Goldeneye
4 Tufted Duck
1 Bar-headed Goose
1 3rd winter Caspian Gull
2 adult Yellow legged Gull
2 Nuthatch

Caspian Gull - 3rd winter (?) 

Dozmary Pool

1 drake Lesser Scaup
6 Tufted Duck
4 Goldeneye 
2 Teal

Colliford Lake

4 red head Goosander
1 drake Pintail
13 Teal
2 Great crested Grebe
1st Winter Yellow legged Gull
1st winter Yellow legged Gull

Sunday, 1 January 2017

January 1st, Bob's bird count !

Its been a few years since I've been sober enough to get up early and spend a whole day out on new years day so I thought I would have a drive along the north coast and the Camel estuary and see how many different birds I could find to start my year list. As I left my house and got into the car my first species of the year was a Robin singing it's little heart out followed quickly by 2 Redwing , Carrion Crow, Blackbird and Song Thrush. It was still pitch black when I stopped at Mawgan Porth ( I was a little keen today!) and in the heavy rain I heard Wren, Dunnock,  Pheasant, Oystercatcher, Rook , Meadow Pipit, Jackdaw, Magpie and Pied Wagtail. Finally when I could see the beach I scanned through the large flock of 300 Black-headed Gulls picking out 3 Common Gull in amongst them.

I drove along the coast road and stopped off at Constantine Bay next, the weather was still miserable but from the car I saw Blue Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon , Linnet and Rock Pipit. A quick dash to the rocks in between the rain gave me 2 smart Purple Sandpipers. As I drove across Trevose golf course on my way to the headland I noticed a small flock of corvids on the edge of the road and would you believe it! In amongst them was a Hooded Crow! It was not long past dawn and I was already happy with my day having found a county rarity. It stayed around for long enough for me to get a rubbish photograph but at least you can see what it is. I also added a Raven in the same field. It was miserable at the headland so I didn't get out of the car but scanning with my scope at the sea yielded Shag, Great black backed Gull, Kittiwake, Herring Gull, Gannet, Fulmar, Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter, Razorbill and Guillemot. Whilst checking the fields from the car I also saw Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Stonechat, Skylark, Chaffinch and Corn Bunting. Next stop was Harlyn Beach and 2 stunning Med Gulls ( an adult and a 1st Winter) plus Buzzard, Moorhen, Little Grebe and Goldcrest in the valley. 

Hooded Crow; the grey mantle and black oak leaf shaped marking on the breast surrounded by grey are important features when ruling out a hybrid Carion x Hooded Crow.

Now it was time to have a good look at the Camel Estuary and in less than favourable conditions I found 42 Grey Plover, 16 Knot, Redshank, Turnstone, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Mallard, Shelduck, Teal, Siskin, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Lesser-black Backed Gull, Red-legged Partridge, Mute Swan and Greenshank. I also had a search for any Cattle Egrets that may be around and despite finding some likely places I could only find 26 Little Egrets feeding in the fields surrounding the estuary. Still I did see a smart Firecrest in St Issey whilst looking for Egrets so not a complete waste of time. 

From here I drove to Chaple Amble and saw 2 Fieldfare, Kingfisher, Water Rail,  Kestrel and Long-tailed Tit. Still keen to add more species I scanned from the car at Clapper Pools and saw a Green Sandpiper, Reed Bunting and Grey Heron. With a few hours of light left I went to the tower hide at Walmsley Sanctuary and whilst it was busy for birds the wind kept a lot of the smaller birds out of sight. Still I did see 248 Wigeon, 105 Teal, 126 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, Common Snipe, 2 Ruff, 1 Barnacle Goose, Canada Goose, Feral Pigeon, 1 Cettis Warbler ( rare here; it was calling from the reeds in front of the hide.) Jay and Sparrowhawk. Closer to home and with the light fading I stopped off at Trevithick East and noted a Treecreeper and a Tawny Owl. 
Ruff - Walmsley

Phew it was a manic day! Doing a bird count is great fun but once a year is enough! Still I was really pleased with my 92 species and if the weather was nicer I would have gone way over 100!