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2021 yearly round-up

Updated: Jan 2, 2022


Probably the first good bird of the year was an Iceland Gull past Lizard Point on the 1st (I Maclean) and a Glaucous Gull at Coverack. Other notable birds seen on the 1st included 17 Cattle Egret near Gillan Creek, a Mistle Thrush near Housel, a Siberian Chiffchaff at Carminowe and a Black Redstart at Coverack. On the 2nd a Waxwing was in the Loe Valley (M Pass), along with a Yellow-browed Warbler and Siberian Chiffchaff found when looking for it. On the same day, 8 Cattle Egret were seen near Newtown St Martin and 2 Purple Sandpipers were seen at Lizard Point. These typically there in winter, as they did year, but 11 on the 6th was something of a surprise. On the 4th, a Knot was also at Lizard Point and a male Hen Harrier was seen at Windmill Farm.

Loe Valley continued to host Siberian Chiffchaffs, with 3 at the sewerage works on the 7th. At least one of these lingered into March. Also on the 7th, a singing Yellow-browed Warbler was at Lowertown, and arguably the best bird of the month, a Richard’s Pipit was found at Mullion Gold Course (M Pass). Also two Cattle Egret were seen over Mullion and a Glaucous Gull was off Loe Bar.

On the 10th, two Bitterns were found at Penrose Marsh (I Maclean, J Foster). The duo eventually increased to three and showed excellently on and off for over a month, enjoyed by many. On the 13th, 13 Cattle Egret were seen at Loe Pool and increase in number from the flock seen at the end of 2020. Several of these lingered into May and acquired full breeding plumage.

On the 17th, 11 Black-throated Diver and one Great Northern Diver were off Gunwalloe and a Whimbrel was seen at Porthleven. Other notable birds in the second half of January included a Great Northern Diver on Loe Pool on the 21st, male Hen Harriers near St Keverne and Lizard Downs on the 24th, 7 Black-throated Diver at Kennack and a Barn Owl and Penrose also on the 24th, two Purple Sandpipers and a Woodcock at Kennack Sands on the 27th, c. 200 Mediterranean Gulls at St Anthony and a Barn Owl and Marsh Harrier at Windmill on the 29th. Another highlight of the month was a Great Grey Shrike near Gweek on the 29th.

One of three Bitterns at Loe Pool. Ilya Maclean


A first-winter Ring-billed Gull was seen at Loe Pool on the 1st (I Maclean), a Marsh Harrier was at Windmill on the 3rd, 2 Great Skua and 120 Mediterranean Gulls were seen from Nare Point on the 5th and a Velvet Scoter was off Porthleven on the 7th. A Glaucous Gull at Cadgwith on the 9th, was possibly the same as that seen at Coverack in January. Also on the 9th, 9 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a Knot were seen at Old Lizard Head. On the 11th a Marsh Harrier was seen at Gunwalloe. On the 12th, a young Glaucous Gull was on Loe Pool and on the 13th a Pomarine Skua was seen off Porthleven. Another Glaucous Gull was seen at Old Lizard Head along with a Jack Snipe on the 14th.

The 21st was quite a good day for scarcities. Three Pomarine and 2 Great Skuas were seen from Porthoustock and another Pomarine Skua was seen feeding off Lizard Point. Also a breeding plumage Black-necked Grebe was in the Helford Passage and a first-winter Caspian Gull was at Coverack (J Foster). The first decent flocks of Manx Shearwaters were seen on the 25th, with 46 past Lizard Point. On the 26th, a singing male Black Redstart was heard at Housel. To hear singing birds is unusual on the Lizard. On the 27th, Short-eared Owls were seen near Halzaphron and over Kynance Downs, and Great and Pomarine Skuas were seen from Cadgwith. On the 28th a Hooded Crow was seen at Lizard Point (M Pass) and a record count of 90 Red-throated Divers were between Gunwalloe and Porthleven.


The Red-throated Divers lingered for a few days into March and a Marsh Tit was seen at Penrose on the 3rd. The Bitterns and Cattle Egret there also continued to show there on and Exceptionally mild weather resulted in the first few migrants: Chiffchaffs and a White Wagtail at Housel on on the 3rd, along with a Painted Lady Butterfly at Gunwalloe Fishing Cove. The Short-reared Owl also stayed on at Halzephron. On the 5th a Bar-tailed Dodwit flew over Gunwalloe, White Wagtails around Lizard Point increased to 8 and a new Glaucous Gull put in an appearance at Cadgwith. Glaucous Gulls were quite a feature of the month, with birds also seen at Coverack on the 6th and 17th and Old Lizard Head on the 13th. On the 6th a Black Guillemot was seen distantly from St Anthony's Head (I Maclean). On the 11th a Dotterel was seen at Black Head.

By mid-month, migrants started to trickle through in earnest, with a Sandwich Term at Housel Bay on the 15th, 98 Puffin and 1100 Manx Shearwaters on the 16th and 3 Wheatears and Sand Martin on the 17th. On the 24th there was a god spring passage of Black Redstarts, with six seen. However, the first Swallows and Willow Warblers didn't arrive until the 25th. On the 26th one of two singing Firecrests was seen around Loe Pool. At least one of these successfully bred this year, as young were seen in July, the first time breeding has been proven on the Lizard. Singing Firecrests were also heard at Tremayne Quay. A Marsh Harrier at Gunwalloe Marsh on the 27th was also noteworthy owing to the possibility of breeding. The only other notable birds of the month were 2 Red-legged Partridge near Cury on the 30th, a Black Swan and a White-tailed Eagle on Goonhilly Downs on the 31st. the last day of the month was also quite good for migrants, with the first Ring Ouzel, Yellow Wagtail and Sedge Warbler of the year seen.


By the 1st, the Black Swan had made its way to the Helston Boating Lake. As is usual on the Lizard, April was a fairly good month for spring overshoots. The first of these was a brace of Hoopoe found by John Foster, on the 1st, one at Housel Bay and another at Little Treleaver. On the 2nd Hellarcher Valley was the place to be, with a Green Sandpiper on the pool and a duo of Greenland Wheatears. Also on the 2nd, the White-tailed Eagle was seen at the Helford and the first Whitethroat of the year was seen at Caethillian. By the 3rd, the Wheatear had gone, but were replaced by 3 Grey Plover. On the 4th another Ring Ouzel was found, this time at Caerthillian. On the 4th the first Grasshopper Warbler was found at Soapy Cove and on the 5th, also at Soapy a first-year Western Subalpine Warbler was found (T Blunden). Also on the 5th, the first Whinchat of the year was at Goonhilly. On the 7th, another Hoopoe turned, up, this time on Mark Pass's lawn in Mullion, though it was found by his wife/ Also on the 7th, a Serin was seen in Porthleven (I Maclean).

The Housel Hoopoe. Joe Jones.

Western Subalpine Warbler, Soapy Cove. Joe Jones.

A feature of the year was a record number of Ospreys. The first of these was over the Kynance Road on the 8th. On the 9th, the first Common Tern of the year was seen and on the 10th, the first Hobby and Reed Warbler. Best bird of the day was a Bee-eater at Windmill Farm, however , later joined by an Osprey (T Blunden). Possibly the same Osprey was seen over the Helford later in the day and at Gweek the next day. On the 12th, a Kentish Plover turned up at Predannack Airfield (S Kolodziejski), one of only four 'BB Rares' to be seen in 2021. The first Garden Warbler and Tree Pipits of the of the year were seen on the 13th and 14th respectively. More of a novelty was a smart male Brambling on the 14th. On the 16th, another spring Ring Ouzel put in an appearance, this time between Church Cove and Cadgwith. Also on the 16th a Green Sandpiper was at Windmill Farm, which weas replaced by 2 Common Sandpipers and a Jack Snipe on the 17th. On the 18th, another Serin was seen, this one in off the sea at Lizard Point (T Blunden). Also on the 18th, the first Arctic Skua and Red Kites of the year were seen, a Yellowhammer was at Gweek and another Ring Ouzel was around the village green.

On the 20th, a Cattle Egret flew in off the sea over Porthleven and later joined the flock still resident in the Loe Valley. On the 22nd 3 Arctic Skua flew past Porthleven. The 24th was quitea good day for migrants: the first Swift of the year was seen at Old Lizard Head and a Redstart was seen along Pentreath Lane. Best bird of the day, however, was a Purple Heron over Soapy Cove (T Blunden). Migrants and overshoots were also in evidence on the 25th, with another Hoopoe and a male Redstart at Windmill Farm, along with the first ever Arctic Skuas (2) for the reserve (M Broadbent, J Jones). There was also female Redstarts along Caerthillian and Chapel Lane, the latter later joined by a flyover Bee-eatear (J Jones). The 27th featured a few Lesser Whitethroats, with birds seen at Treleaver and Poltesco (another was seen at Pistol on the 29th). Unusual for the south Lizard, a Cetti's Warbler was heard at Pistil Meadow on the 28th. Also on the 29th, a Ring Ouzel was seen at Gunwalloe.


May was a bit slower than April, but featured several good birds starting with a smart male Whinchat in the Hellarcher Valley on the 1st, a Male Redstart at Black Head on the 2nd, along with Lesser Whitethroats at Trewillis and Treleaver Farms. On the 5th of May, quite unsually for the Lizard, two Ring-necked Parakeets was seen at Kuggar. On the 7th, a White-tailed Eagle flew over Caerthillian. On the 9th, male and female Woodchat Shrikes and a Yellowhammer were found along Lloyd's Lane. On the 13th, a Short-eared Owl was at Housel Bay and a 2CY Montagu's Harrier was seen at Goonhilly (D Collins). On the 14th, another Woodchat Shrike turned up at Old Lizard Lane (D Collins). On the 18th, a Grey-headed Wagtail was at Housel (T Blunden). On the 28th, a Golden Oriole was seen flying north from the top-end of Caerthillian (I Maclean) and was probably the same bird as that seen at Windmill Farm a short while later (D Wright). Remarkably, likely the same bird was then seen flying south over Lizard Downs on the 29th (I Maclean). Also on the 28th, a full breeding plumage Black Guillemot was seen close to Bumble Rocks (T Thirlaway) and a Montagu's Harrier was seen flying over Lizard Downs (J Foster). The 28th and 29th also featured good numbers of commoner migrants, including several Red Kites and Pied and Spotted Flycatcher, but bird of the 29th was another Woodchat Shrike at Windmill Farm (M Broadbent). Good birds were evidently a feature of the end of May, including a Bee-eater at Lowland Point on the 30th (W Hawkes) and an adult Rose-coloured Starling at Tregulas on the 31st (T Blunden).

Lloyd's Lane Woodchat Shrike. Joe Jones.


Good birds continued into June, with a singing Hoopoe in Lizard Village for a few days from he 1st (T Blunden). On the 3rd a Ruddy Shelduck and Scaup on Helston Boating Lake on the 3rd. On the 6th a spooned Pomarine Skua flew past Lizard Point and on the 7th presumably a different Rose-coloured Starling turned up in Lizard Village (T Blunden), which was joined by a second one on the 12th. On the 14th, there was another Red Kite movement, with c 200 seen over Lizard Village.

The Lizard Village Hoopoe on one of its soujourns to Housel. Dave Collins.

Ruddy Shelduck and Scaup on the Helston Boating Lake. Ilya Maclean

On the 21st Autumn began, with 2 Wood Sandpipers and a Green Sandpiper at Windmill Farm. By the 22nd, only one Wood Sandpiper was present, but two Green Sandpipers put in an appearance. No other birds of note were seen in the latter half of the month.


By early July, returning waders were in greater evidence, with Common Sandpiper and Whimbrel on the 5th. On the 10th an adult Roseate Tern was seen of Lizard Point (I Maclean), along with the first returning Balearic Shearwater of the autumn. On the 17th fledgling Firecrests were seen at Loe Pool, proving breeding for the first time. On the 22nd a lone Bee-eater flew over Gunwalloe (M Grantham). On the 26th, the first Osprey of he autumn was seen at Loe Pool, and on the 29th 2 Sooty Sherwaters were seen off Lizard Point. The Scaup at Helston remained present for over a month and was seen on the 30th.


Best bird early in the month was a Great White Egret on the 2nd. By the 5th, seawatching season kicked-off in earnest with at 1 Great Shearwater past Cadgwith, another past Lizard Point, along with 10 Cory's Shearwaters. On the 13th, 2 Cattle Egret flew past Lizard Point and on the 14th, 2 Cory's Shearwaters and a Little Gull were seen from there and a family party of Firecrests was seen at Tremayne Quay.

By the 21st, returning passerine migrants were in evidence, with Pied Flycatchers at Lizard point, Housel, Caerthillian and Mullion and a Yellow Wagtail at Bass Point. Also on the 21st, a Black Tern flew past Lizard Point (S Votier et al) and another Woodchat Shrike was seen along Lloyd's Lane (J Foster). On the 22nd, a Meloudious Warbler was seen at Kynance (D Collins), precursor to bird of the year: a Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin at Treleaver near Black Head (D Wright - see finders account here). Late August and early September, are often surprisingly good on the Lizard, sometimes leading to a sense of deflation come October!

Bird of the year: a Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin. Dougy Wright.

Other birds seen in late August paled into insignificance, but included Green Sandpiper at Loe Pool and a few more Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchats, Lesser Whitethroats, Hoobies and Yellow and White Wagtails Wagtails through to the end of the month. Birds of a more serious note were a Glossy Ibis over Traboe Cross (M Grantham), a Wood Warbler at Kynance (D Collins) and Wrynecks at Soapy Cove and Caerthillian on the 28th. Wrynecks were a bit of a feature of late August, with additional birds at Windmill Farm on the 29th and at Kynance on the 30th. Other notable birds included a Golden Plover at Kynance on the 28th, Dotterel over Soap Cove on the 30th (L Langley), along with an Osprey and a probable Montagu's Harrier over Lizard Village (I Maclean) and Red-footed Falcon over Goonhilly on the same day (J Foster) on the same day. Also an unidentified Hippolais warber was seen at Soapy Cove on the 31st.

The Kynance Wood Warbler. Ilya Maclean


The good haul of Wrynecks continued into September, with one at Grochall on the 2nd. Also on the 2nd, 2 Spotted Redshanks were spotted at Gweek. On the 4th and 5th, there was a good haul of commoner migrants with groups of Yellow Wagtails, Whinchats and Spotted Flycatchers scattered at various locations, On the 6th, things picked up a bit more with Red-backed Shrike and Wryneck at Porthleven (I Maclean), Redstarts at Housel and Hellarcher and 23 Whinchat between Caerthillian and the Kynance Road. On the 8th another Red-backed Shrike turned up, this time just south of Cadgwith, which was joined by a Wryneck later in the day (S Croft). On the 9th another Osprey turned up at Loe Pool (along with a flyover Tree Pipit), on the 10th another Osprey was seen flying over the sea at Portthleven and on the 11th, 2 Ospreys were at Loe Pool. Also on the 11th, a Honey Buzzard flew over Mullion (M Pass). Good number of common migrants put in an appearance with White Wagtails, a Redstart, Spotted Flycatchers, Green Sandpiper, Whinchats and Lesser Whitethroats seen on the 1tth and 12th.

Wryneck at Porthleven. One of several that turned-up in September. Ilya Maclean

On the 14th, an Ortolan Bunting was seen at Housel (M Pass), and presumably the same brid was then seen along Chapel Lane (I Maclean). Two Wrynecks and Nightingale were in Caerthillean (I Maclean) and good numbers of common migrants, including a Redstart and Hobby and two Firecrests were seen. On the 15th, a Wryneck was seen at Soapy Cove and on the 18th, another Wryneck was seen at Kynance along with a Melodious Warbler (I Maclean). Also on the 18th, a Hoopoe was seen at Trelowarren (per G Adams). On the 19th, the Soapy Cove Wryneck was joined by another.

Late September was fairly quiet, common migrants such as Spotted Flycatchers and White Wagtails continued to trickle through and on the 24th, 3 Cattle Egret were seen at Gillan Creek and Balearic Shearwaters and Sooty Shearwaters were seen sporadically, including a count of 320 Balearics past Lizard Point in 30 mins on the 30th.

Whinchats were common throughout much of September. This one at Soapy Cove on the 25th. Ilya Maclean.


On the 2nd, a late Cuckoo flew over the road at Mullion and on the 3rd an Osprey, possibly a new one, was at Loe Pool. Another than a notable influx of Jays, including 47 over Kyance on the 7th, the first week of October was quiet. On the 8th, a Turtle Dove was seen at Trebarveth Farm near Coverack, and on the 9th a Cattle Egret flew over the Lighthouse and was later seen at Housel. Also on the 9th, Cetti's Warblers were at Windmill Farm and Soapy Cove and a very confiding young Turtle Dove turned up near Lizard Point.

Turtle Dove near Lizard Point. Ilya Maclean

On the 11th, the first Brambling of the Autumn flew over, but rather more notable was a flyover probable American Golden Plover (T Blunden). The first and one of the few Yellow-browed Warblers also turned up in the Rizza Valley. On the 13th, a Woodlark flew south over Ponsangath, and even later Cuckoo was seen at Jollytown Farm. Mid-October was fairly quiet, but a Radde's Warbler near Devil's Frying Pan on the 22nd, was an excellent Lizard find (S Croft). Good numbers of Brambling were seen on most days people were out birding,

The Devil's Frying Pan Radde's Warbler. Dave Collins.

A Whooper Swan at Grade Marsh on the 24th, and 18 Cattle Egret at Gillan Creek on the 25th, 2 Ring Ouzels in the Rizza Valley and a Grey Phalarope at Bumble Rocks on the 26th were also notable. Best bird of the month was found on the 30th: an American Buff-bellied Pipit at Old Lizard Head (J Irvine). It stayed for several days and showed very well at times. The final good bird of the month was a Hawfinch over Little Treleaver (J Foster).

American Buff-bellied Pipit at Old Lizard Head. Ilya Maclean


On the 1st, a Richard's Pipit flew over Lizard Village (T Blunden) and on the 2nd both Lapland and Snow Buntings were found at Old Lizard Head. Also on the 2nd, a Cetti's Warbler was at Lloyd's Lane and on the 3rd a Redpoll flew over Lizard Village. Bird of the month, was found on the 4th: a juvenile Pallid Harrier north over Lizard Village (J Foster). A Short-eared Owl was seen over Lizard Downs later that day. On the 5th, a Whooper Swan flew over Windmill Farm and a Lapland Bunting flew over Soapy Cove. Also on the 5th, the Richard's Pipit was re-found on the ground near Man o War View. On the 6th a Cattle Egret turned up between Trethvas and Church Cove, a Jack Snipe was seen at Hayle Kimbro and a Caspian Gull and was seen near Lizard Point (T Phelps). Also on the 6th, a Yellow-browed Warbler was seen in the Helston Amenity Area, remarkably on the second of the autumn! Three Siberian Chiffchaffs were in the same area. On the 7th, the Cattle Egret had made its way to Grade Marsh and was joined by a Swallow. Characteristic of early November was the large numbers of Stock Dove recorded, with around 350 over Halzephron on the 9th.

Large numbers of Stock Dove were feature of November. This flock at Old Lizard Head on the 14th. Ilya Maclean

On the 12th, a White's Thrush missed the Lizard by a whisker by flying into a window at Mawnan Smith (per T Blunden). On the 13th, a confiding Hawfinch was found near Mullion Cove (M Pass). On the 14th, 6 Swallows over Lizard Village were among the last of the autumn. On the 16th a Snow Bunting flew over Housel and a Ring Ouzel was at Mullion Gold Course. On the 17th, another Richard's Pipit turned up, this time near the Devil's Frying Pan (S Croft). Several Siberian Chiffchaffs also put in an appearance at this time, including birds at Little Treleaver and Bass Point. On the 19th, a Yellow-browed Warbler at Degibna was possibly the same as that seen earlier in the month. On the 20th, a Serin was flying around Lizard Point (M Pass) and a Snow Bunting flew over the Kynance Road. The 20th was evidently a good day for rarities, as a Dusky Warbler was also found along LLoyd's Lane (J Foster), The Dusky Warbler remained until the 25th, but on the 21st a Cattle Egret flew over Housel and on the 23rd one was seen at Carn Barrow. On the 28th, a Ruff was on Predannack Airfield and on the 29th, 4 Cattle Egret turned up at Loe Pool.


On the 2nd a Short-eared Owl was seen at Windmill Farm, which frequented the area until the end of the month. On the 3rd, presumably another Richard's Pipit was found at Housel (M Pass) and on the 5th, a Black-tailed Godwit was at Grade Marsh. On the 6th, a late Swallow was at Kuggar. On the 11th 25 Cattle Egret were found at Frenchman's Creek, and a Red-necked Grebe was present in the Helford Passage. On the 14th, another Richard's Pipit was found at Mullion Golf Course (S Bury) and on the 15th, a Goshawk flew over Trewillis (J Foster) and a Sooty Shearwater past Lizard Point. On the 19th, a Lapland Bunting was found near Chyvarloe.

The Housel Richard's Pipit. Joe Jones

On the 23rd, possibly the same, or possibly another Richard's Pipit was (re)found near Housel (per P Gay) and a Glossy Ibis flew over the road between Helston and Porthleven (I Maclean). Also on the 19th, six distance unidentified grey Geese were seen near Kynance Gate (I Maclean). On the 20th, 5 Dark-bellied Brent Geese was seen in the Helford and on the 22nd, the grey goose mystery was solved when 2 Tundra Bean Geese and a Russian White-fronted Goose turned up at Grade Marsh (J Foster). The group of 2 Tundra Bean Geese was joined by 3 more on the 26th and the flock 6 geese (including the White-front) stayed until the end of the year On the 27th, a Water Pipit was at Trethvas and a Siberian Chiffchaff was near Grade Marsh. Also on the 27th, another flock of 8 Tundra Bean Geese, these with a Greylag Goose were found at Grade Marsh and on the 28th a Grey Phalarope flew past Lizard Point. Also on the 28th, a flock of 16 Russian White-fronted Geese was found near Croft Pascoe (J Foster, M Pass) and the Red-necked Grebe at relocated to the Helford. The final good birds of the year was a Glossy Ibis at Trethvas on the 29th and Dark-bellied Brent Goose there on the 30th.

The Tundra Bean Geese and Russian White-fronted Goose at Grade Marsh. Joe Jones

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