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2023 yearly round-up

Updated: Mar 31

January

As is typical of the first few days in January, birders were out in force and quite a few scarcities were found. Seawatching from Lizard Point on the 1st turned up three unseasonal European Storm-Petrels, a Bonxie and 10 Manx Shearwater, whereas those that ventured inland refound the 2 Red-necked Grebes from 2022 at Frenchman’s Creek, as well as a Purple Sandpiper at Nare Point and a Black Redstart on Halzephron. On the second, a wintering Yellow-browed Warbler was found in Loe Valley along with 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs a Gadwall and Common Sandpiper on the boating Lake. There was another Siberian Chiffchaff at Lowland Point, along with 7 Firecrests, a wintering Whimbrel and Red-breasted Merganser – a remarkably scarce bird on the Lizard. However, the best bird of the month was found by John on the boating lake : a cracking female Ring-necked Duck, evidently newly in as I’d checked there the previous day. A Slavonian Grebe at Polwheveral Creek and a good selection of egrets at Gillan Creek, including 11 Cattle Egret were also noteworthy.


Unseasonal seawatching continued on the 6th, with a Great Shearwater, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, a Little Gull, 15 Manxies and a Bonxie past Lizard Point. The 7th also saw a Great Shearwater, Bonxie and Manxie fly past Lizard Pt, though more unusual in a local context was a Green Woodpecker at Housel Bay. A Black-necked Grebe in the Helford Passage on the 8th continued the areas could run of scarce grebes and may have been the bird John saw on the 1st that disappeared. Later in the month a drake Mandarin was found at Scott’s Quay on the 14th and another Great Shearwater flew past Coverack on the 15th. Wintering Great Shearwaters are unheard of on the Lizard prior to this year, but with the extraordinary numbers passing in late October 2022, it is perhaps not surprising a few lingered.


As the year-list urge abated so too did the number of birds to report. A Cattle Egret at Higher Bochym and a Little Gull at Grade on the 16th and a suprisingly uncommon argentatus Herring Gull were the only notably birds found until the 26th, when 3 Purple Sandpipers were seen at Kennack Sands and a Siberian Chiffchaff was seen at Gunwalloe. On the 27th, there were good numbers of divers seen between Gunwalloe fishing cove and Loe Bar, including 2 Great Northern, 2 Black-throated and 15 Red-throated. A Hen Harrier near St Keverne and a\ count of 30+ Red-throated Divers just south of Loe Bar rounded off the month.



Ring-necked Duck, Helston Boating Lake. Top: Dougy Wright. Middle: Ilya Maclean. Bottom: Steve Bury First found in January by John Foster.


argentatus Herring Gull 18th January. Steve Bury


February

The beginning of February is traditionally fairly quiet, and this year was no exception. A Black Redstart in Steve’s garden in Helston on the 1st and a Siberian Chiffchaff at the sewerage works there on the 3rd, were topped by a Bittern Tony found at Loe Pool on the 4th, which also hosted a Little Gull on the 7th. A few harriers were also seen: Marsh at Higher Bochym and Kynance farm on the 7th and Hen at Gwenter on the 8th. The harriers were joined by a Red Kite at Higher Bochym on the 9th – rather unusual for the winter months. The9th also turned up a Pomarine Skua past Lizard Point and a Siberian Chiffchaff at Coverack. There was also a Green Sandpiper briefly at Bishop’s Quay on the 12th.

Bittern in flight at Loe Pool. Steve Bury


The second half of February is traditionally a good time for finding rare gulls in Cornwall and Joe's Iceland Gull that may have been a Kumlein’s at Porthoustock on the 12th exemplified this. Gull migration kicked-off in earnest on the 18th, with 4 Yellow-legged Gulls at Lizard Point (an adult and 1st, 2nd and 3rd winters), another at Loe Pool and a Caspian Gull at Coverack, found by Dave. There were also Yellow-legged Gulls at Coverack on the 19th and Lizard Point on the 21st, but Steve B's Caspian Gull on Loe Bar on the 23rd topped both of those. Other notable in the second half of the month included Pintail at Ruan Pool on the 23rd, Siberian Chiffchaffs at Higher Bochym and Penrose on the 23rd and 24th respectively, a Snow Bunting at Kynance on the 26th and a Red Kite at Coverack on the 28th, possibly the same as that seen at Higher Bochym earlier in the month. Perhaps most unusual was a Grey Horned Owl in Lizard Village on the 21st, though undoubtedly, judging by its behaviour, an escapee.

Adult Yellow-legged Gull at Lizard Point, 18th Feb 2023. Steve Bury.

The Caspian Gull on Loe Bar 23rd Feb. Steve Bury


March

March kicks off the spring passage this season, though a Marsh Harrier at Higher Bochym on the 1st and 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs at Helston Sewerage Works on the 3rd were not typical spring migrants. Neither was a White-tailed Eagle south-west over Rosemullion Head on the 3rd, which may have just entered Lizard airspace. On the 4th, spring did begin though with the traditional Puffin migration: 3 on the 4th, 4 on the 5th, 23 on the 9th, 12 on the 12th and 39 on the 15th. On the 5th Tony found another Caspian Gull at Lizard Point and on the 10th a spring movement of 16 Little Egrets at Coverack. Seabird also picked up a bit, with 4 Sandwich Terns, and Arctic Skua and 38 Manx Shearwaters past Lizard Point on the 9th, another 4 Sandwich Terns and 62 Manx Shearwaters past on the 12, a Sooty Shearwater and 112 Manx Shearwater past the 15th and two very seasonal Great Shearwaters past on the 31st.


On land, signs of Spring included 4 singing Fircrests at Penrose on the 11th, the first Swallow of the year at Black Head on the 14th, quickly followed by House Martin at Gweek on the 16th, 3 Sand Martin’s at Helston on the 17th and a Wheatear at Old Lizard Head on the 18th. On the 20th a Dipper was seen at its usual haunts near Lidl in Helston, but by the 24th spring migration was in full swing, with a Willow Warbler at Windmill Farm, a Yellow Wagtail over Ponsongath, on the 24th and a White Wagtail at Windmill Farm and Snow Bunting just north of Kynance on the 27th.


April

The first half of April witnessed a really decent run of spring overshoots, starting with a Hoopoe near Kuggar on the 3rd. On the 4th, two Red Kites flew over Lloyd’s Lane, but better still, the first Black-winged Stilts for over a decade turned up, with three photographed by the green-keeper at Mullion Gold Course. On the 5th, a Purple Heron flew south towards the Lizard over Rosemullion Head and another Black-winged Stilt turned up near Upper Treleaver, possinly one of the birds from the golf course, but potentially a new bird given that six Black-winged Stilts also turned up on the north coast. On the 7th a Garganey was seen at Windmill Farm and on the 8th a Greenland Wheatear (Kynance) and an Osprey (Goonhilly) put in in appearance. By the 9th, the Garganey had relocated to Hayle Kimbro, Jake found a Woodchat Shrike at Nare Point, and another Greenland Wheatear turned up at Predannack. On the 10th an early Turtle Dove turned up at Coverack, and two Purple Herons were incongruously found by a farmer on damp field near Gwenter.


The Black-winged Stilt near Upper Treleaver. Top: Joe Jones. Bottom: Dougy Wright

One of the two Purple Herons at Gwenter. Dougy Wright.


The good spate of migrants continued mid-month. Aside from a Pelican species reported near Gweek on the 13th, a visiter found a Montagu’s Harrier in the fields just north of the Kynance Road on the 14th and stayed for a few weeks. Also on the 14th, Jake found a Hoopoe near Gwendreath. On the 16th, Rupert found a dead Goshawk there. On the 18th, there was a bit of a spring wader passage with Greenshank and Green Sandpiper at Windmill Farm. On the 19th the first proper movement of Red Kites occurred with up to three birds seen over Lizard Downs, at Higher Bochym, over Goonhilly and St Keverne, though how many were involved in total is hard to say.



The Montagu's Harrier, Lizard Downs area. Top and middle: Dougy Wright. Bottom: Steve Bury

Migrants continued to turn up in late April. On the 22nd, two Gadwall flew over Hellarcher Valley (rather unusual that far south) and a Grey Plover turned up with Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwits in a field on Old Lizard Head. The 23rd brought more rarities, with a Purple Heron at Gunwalloe and a Black-crowned Night Heron found by John quite close to the original Purple Heron field near Ponsangath. A slightly early Swift on the 29th capped off an absolute classic Lizard April.


The Night Heron near Gwenter. Top: Joe Jones. Bottom: Steve Wood


May

Birding in the first half of May kicked off with a Montagu’s Harrier reported at Carminowe, on the 2nd and another Turtle Dove nearby there on the 4th. Also on the 4th, a Ruff flew over Higher Bochym, two breeding plumage Grey Plovers turned up on Loe Bar and a Hobby flew over Porthleven. On the 5th, Matt found a Serin flying over Windmill Farm, but the 6th brought the real goodies in the shape of a Red-footed Falcon seen briefly by Joe at Bray’s Cott and a slim looking harrier found by John while looking for the falcon. The harrier was quite mobile and elusive, but in the end reasonable views were obtained and the consensus was that it was a Pallid Harrier, though to confuse things further there was a Montagu's Harrier found at Goonhilly a few days later on the 10th. On the 11th a farmer flushed a Quail from a field near Ponsangath and on the 13th, a Purple Heron was flushed from Bray's Cott. On the 14th, there was another small Red Kite influx with up to 15 birds reported. Also on the 14th, and rather curiously given the time of year, there was a Lesser Redpoll at Croft Pascoe.

Breeding plumage Grey Plover on Loe Bar. Steve Bury


Montagu's Harrier at Goonhilly, 10th May. Unclear whether this was the Lizard Downs bird from April, but subtle differences in the underwing pattern would suggest a differernt bird. Dougy Wright.


On the 17th, a Yellowhammer was seen near Culdrose. Once a common bird on the Lizard, it is now outnumbered by both Ortolan and Cirl Bunting. On the 18th John saw a Black Kite over Goonhilly and on the 19th, a Hawfinch was seen at Cross Common and on the 21st, Tony saw a Black Kite flying north over Lizard Downs amidst the more numerous Red Kites. Also on the 21st, a Great White Egret flew in and landed in one of the little pools on Predannack Airfield. Migrants continued into late May, with a Turtle Dove at Housel on the 25th, an Osprey over Loe Pool and Porthleven on the 27th, and a Honey Buzzard over Coverack on the 28th (found by Stu Bearhop). Also on the 28th, Matt found a female-type Golden Oriole at Windmill. To end the months, Paul found a Serin as it flew over Surfer’s Carpark on the 31st, and another ‘probable’ was seen near Trevassack Quarry.


June

Early June is often pretty slow, and the only notable bird reported at all was a single early Balearic Shearwater flying past Lizard Point on the 3rd. Mid-month witnessed the first Crossbill movement with singles seen at Little Treleaver on the 16th and Croft Pascoe on the 17th. South-easterlies on 17th proved quite fruitful, however, with both Red-backed Shrike found by Stuart at Nare Head and Bee-eater found by John on Crousa Downs. The next day there was a Grasshopper Warbler at Crousa Downs and on the 23rd the pale Common Buzzard near Soapy Cove was again reported as a Long-legged Buzzard, a bit of a perennial feature of this bird. However, late marked off the sea-watching season in earnest starting with a cracking adult Sabine’s Gull seen by Stuart past Cadgwith on the 23rd. On the 26th and 28th respectively, the first Cory’s Shearwater Wilson’s Petrel of the year were seen by Joe past Lizard Point. The latter once a rare bird on the Lizard was the first of another really decent year for this species, with an astonishing 20 seen during the course of the year. First recorded in 2019, this species rather typifies the regime shift in seabirds that seems to have occurred in recent years.

Cory's Shearwaters were a bit of a feature in 2023. This one photographed in Mount's Bay. Ilya Maclean.

In May and June a Grasshopper Warbler took up residence in a small patch of docks in Hellarcher Valley. Photo: Steve Wood.


July

Perhaps unsurprisingly, almost all the notable birds seen in July were on seawatches. On the 6th, Royston saw another Wilson’s Petrel flying past Lizard Point along with 2 Sooty Shearwaters. Another Wilson’s Petrel was seen by Tony from there on the 9th, and two were seen by me on the 11th. Also on the 11th, there was a Green Sandpiper at Bray’s Cott. On the 14th, the first decent Balearic Shearwater movement occurred with 12 past, along with a Pomarine Skua, 4 Arctic Skua and two Great Skuas. The classic July influx of young Yellow-legged Gulls also moved into full swing, with 7 lingering on the rocks at Lizard Point.


On the 18th, another Wilson’s Petrel was seen by Joe past Bumble Rock, and on the 26th one was spotted by Dave from Porthoustock. The best Lizard Point could turn up that day, however, was a Sabine’s Gull, seen by Joe. Cory’s were late to arrive in numbers and it wasn’t until the 27th when double figures were reported: 23 along with 14 Great Shearwaters and 5 Sooty Shearwaters past Lizard Point. On the 28th, Cory’s Shearwaters hit triple figures, with 162 past Lizard Point, but with only 5 Great Shearwaters in tow. On the 29th, I found the next of the Wilson’s Petrels as it flew past Lizard Point, along with a meagre 28 Cory’s Shearwaters and one Great Shearwaters. By  the 30th, Cory’s Shearwater had arrived en-masse however, with 250 past Lizard Point in a fairly brief morning seawatch along with a probable SCOPOLI’S SHEAWATER seen by Tony, Joe and Paul before I arrived. With no photos, this one will never get through, but with the number photographed on the Isles of Scilly this year I’d put my money on it being one. The sea was pretty alive with large Shearwaters on that day, with 89 flying past Porthleven in about 30 mins later in the afternoon, along with two Great Shearwaters. By the 31st, however, numbers had dropped a little with just 93 Cory’s Shearwater past Lizard Point.


August

The first half of August continued the good run of large shearwaters all seen form Lizard Point, with reasonable numbers being reported most days the weather was suitable for seawatching. High counts were 30+ Cory’s on the 5th, 350 on the 8th, 78 on the 11th, 91 on the 13th and 80 on the 40th. Great Shearwaters were little thinner on the sea, however, with 26 on the 8th, 7 on the 11th, 2 on the 13th and it wasn’t until the 14th that triple figures were reported with 180 past Lizard Point on the 14th. A feature of early August, however, was the gradual build up in Sooty Shearwater numbers, with 25 on the 8th, 28 on the 11th, 4 on the 13th and 37 on the 14th. Most remarkable, however, was the number of Wilson’s Petrels with 4 on the 7th seeen by Tony, an astonishing 7 on the 8th seen by Stevie V and Royston, and another on the 14th seen by Tony. Long-tailed Skuas on the 13th (Joe) and 14th (Tony) were also notable. None seabird-wise. The only notable record was of a Green Sandpiper at Windmill Farm on the 6th.


The latter half of August continued the decent run of seabirds, with 421 Cory’s, 30 Sooty and 265 Great Shearwaters past Lizard Point, and 4 Black Terns and 20 Cory’s Shearwaters past Cadgwith. The next seabird day was on the 21st, with 135 Great, 15 Cory’s and 22 Sooty Shearwaters past Porthoustock. The 31st also turned up a few Shearwaters, with 49 Cory’s, 1 Great and 17 Balearic Shearwaters past Lizard Point. However, by mid August landbirds were also in good supply. Autumn migration kicked off in earnest on the 17th with single Pied Flycatchers at Jollytown, Kynance, Culdrose, Lizard Village and Caerthillian, along with a Tree Pipit at Caerthillian. By contrast, the 19th was a bit of a wader day with Wood Sandpipers at Caerthillian, Kynance Farm pond and Windmill Farm, and Green Sandpipers also at Kynance Farm pond and Windmill Farm.

Green Sandpiper at Kynance Farm Pond. Steve Wood.


By the 20th, the first land scarcities turned up with a Melodious Warbler in tamarisks near Loe Bar and a Wryneck at Soapy Cove. Another Melodious Warbler was found by Jake in Kynance Valley and a Dotterel seen by Dave as it flew over Jollytown on the 23rd. The 24th was more of a common migrant day, with light southeasterlies bringing a movement of 60+ Tree Pipits over Old Lizard Head and Caerthillian, a Crossbill over Crousa Downs and a Cattle Egret near Lizard Village. By contrast, the 30th was another scarcities day with a hard-to-pin down Ortolan Bunting near Jollytown and a probably Pectoral Sandpiper over towards Windmill, both found by Dave and a probable Melodious (or Icterine) Warbler in the Youth Hostel Garden.

Amidst the scarcities a good range of common migrants passed through the Lizard in late August. This Pied Flycatcher at Caerthillian on the 24th. Ilya Maclean


September

The beginning of September kicked off with simply astonishing numbers of seabirds, with 7500+ Cory’s Shearwaters along with 18 Pomarine Skuas past Lizard Point and 4 Black Terns past Bass Point on the 1st. On the 2nd, 1300 Great, 2400 Cory’s, 70 Sooty and 80 Balearic Shearwaters flew past Lizard Point along with 10 Pomarine Skuas. By the 3rd, the Shearwaters were further out and harder to identify, but at least 20,000 large Shearwaters were seen by Tony as they flew past Lizard Point and 10,000 flew past Chynhall’s Point. There was a bit of a wind switch on the 3rd, however, resulting in a Wryneck along Chapel Lane, a Honey Buzzard seen by Steve W over Coverack, and a very odd record of a Water Pipit reported form Pen Olver. The 4th witnessed another 2000 Cory’s Shearwaters fly past Lizard Point along with 2 Pomarine Skuas.


By the 6th, landbirds were the focus with a Dotterel seen by Dave again at Kynance Farm with 3 Dotterel seen by me over later in the day at Porthleven. There was also a decent arrival of Wrynecks, with singles on Lizard Downs, Jollytown, Kynance Farm and surfers carpark, along with a Redstart at Jollytown. On the 7th, I found a Rose-coloured Starling in Lizard Village and a Wryneck in Caerthillian, and a Hoopoe was seen just north of the Lizard at Helford Passage. There was also a bit of seabird action with 41 Great, 6 Sooty and 4 Balearic Shearwaters past Porthkerris.  On the 8th, yet another Wryneck was seen at the Hellarcher Pond, a Grasshopper Warbler was seen at Soapy Cove, the Dotterel had made its way onto Predannack Airfield, where it was photographed by Terry and 15 White Wagtails dropped into fields near Lloyd’s Lane. On the 9th, another Wryneck turned up in the Kynance valley, joined by yet another in Pistil Meadow on the 10th. Also on the 10th John had a probable Honey Buzzard towards Black Head and I saw the Wagtail flock along Lloyd’s Lane, which by this time had increased to 38, including quite a few Yellow-Wagtails at least three of which seemed to bear all the hallmarks of Blue-headed Wagtails, though at this time of year they do become a little tricky to identify.

Rose-coloured Starling, Lizard Village, 7th Sep 2023. Ilya Maclean

Wryneck, Caerthillian, , 7th Sep 2023. Ilya Maclean.

Whinchats were numerous into early September. This one near Surfer's Carpark on the 8th. Ilya Maclean


The run of great birds continued into mid-September. On the 11th, a Red-backed Shrike was found by Stuart at Chough Ogo and pretty good candidate for an Iberian Chiffchaff (identified on call) was seen by Jake at Soapy Cove. The 11th also turned up 500 Cory’s Shearwaters past Lizard Point. On the 12th, a flock of 50 Pale-bellied Brent Geese passed there, and an Osprey was seen at Polwheveral Creek. On the 13th, John found a Melodious Warbler in the Youth Housel Garden, and when searching for it later in the afternoon Joe saw a probable Wood Warbler briefly.  On the 15th, the Rose-coloured Starling (or perhaps another) had relocated to Predannack Wollas, where it was found by Steve W and a Redstart was seen at Pistil Meadow. A morning seawatch ny Tony at Lizard Point also turned up a Long-tailed Skua. On the 16th, a Wryneck turned up near Loe Pool and on the 17th, a Citrine Wagtail was found by Steve B on Predannack Head, though unfortunately it didn’t stick around for long. Another Hoopoe was found at Poltesco on the 18th, along with 16 Cattle Egret at Gillan Creek. By contrast the 20th was another sewatching day, with 77 Cory’s, 77 Great, 87 Sooty. 13 Balearic Shearwaters and a Long-tailed Skua seen by Tony as they passed Lizard Point.

Mid-September also brought good numbers of commoner migrants, including this Spotted Flycatcher along the Kynance Garage trackway. Ilya Maclean


Things only got better in late September. A Melodious Warbler was found by Ed at Kynance Farm on the 21st, but not to be outdone on the sea, 287 Balearic Shearwaters flew past Lizard Point. The 24th was another seawatching classic, with an adult Sabine’s Gull seen by Joe as it passed Bumble Rock along with 24 Cory’s and 3 Sooty Shearwaters. The end of August witnessed an extraordinary arrival of American landbirds elsewhere in the country, with most of them being found by former Lizard birder Toby Phelps, but the best the Lizard could do at that time was late news of a probable AMERICAN ROBIN in Caerthillean cove on the 26th, identified from a rather blurry and inconclusive photograph. On the 27th, Ed found a Rose-coloured Starling back in Lizard Village, though most attention was on the sea: with a Sabine’s Gull and 1000 Great Shearwaters seen by Joe past Porthoustock and 5 Pomarine Skuas and a Long-tailed Skua seen by Tony past Lizard Point. Thankfully, however, the Lizard got its revenge on the rest of the country in terms of American landbirds, when Ed found a stunning NORTHERN HARRIER at Higher Bochym on the 28th. The only definite new bird for the Lizard seen in 2023, it stayed for quite a few days wondering over both Goonhilly and Lizard Downs, was seen by many and resulted in finder Ed being awarded the coveted ‘Booby Prize’ for the second year running. As is typical when concentrations of birders turn up in one place other birds get found: I found a Dotterel and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper was also found the next day flying over Goonhilly. There was also a Greenland Wheatear at Windmill.




The Northern Harrier. Top and middle: Dougy Wright. Bottom: Joe Jones.


October

Though not quite on par with September, the good run of birds continued into October: on the 1st, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper was reported from Loe Bar, and a harrier watcher found a Pectoral Sandpiper on Goonhilly. On the 2nd, there was a Pomarine Skua at Loe Bar and on the 3rd, an Osprey and a probable American Golden Plover flew over Goonhilly. Hit and miss was a feature of the day, with a probable Red-footed Falcon at Lizard Point. Things quietened down for a few days thereafter, though 25 Balearic Shearwaters past Porthoustock on the 5th and Ring Ouzel at Predannack Wollas and a Wryneck at Kynance on the 6th were noteworthy. On the 7th, 3 Snow Buntings turned up near Soapy Cove, 4 Firecrests and Mullion and a Wryneck was found at Loe Bar. The sea also turned up a few interesting birds, with 2 Little Terns and 2 Pomarine Skuas past Lizard Point. On the 8th a Redpoll flew over Grochall and on the 9th one flew over Kynance Farm. Also on the 9th, a Siberian Chiffchaff turned up in Lizard Village, a Honey Buzzard was seen flying over Soapy Cove, a Lapland Bunting turned up in a Skylark flock in stibbles along Lloyd’s Lane, John heard a probable Red-throated Pipit over his house near Ponsangath and a Hoopoe turned up in Coverack. The 10th was more of a common migrant day, with the first Redwing of the autumn over Soapy Cove swiftly followed by 15 more at Gwenter. A Grey Plover also flew over Soapy Cove.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Goonhilly. Joe Jones.

One of the Snow Buntings near Soapy Cove, photographed on the 8th. Ilya Maclean

The first few Firecrests trickled in in early October. This one of four at Mullion. Steve Bury


Mid October kicked-off with a brace of Sabine's Gull past Lizard Point on the 11th. On the 12th, there was a Great White Egret influx: one over Jollytown and a flock of five over Goonhilly Downs. Also on the 12th, the American Golden Plover at Goonhilly was confirmed. On the 13th, one of the Great White Egrets provided more showy on Croft Pascoe, but it was otherwise more of a sea-watching day with a Long-tailed Skua and ‘good numbers’ of Great and Cory’s Shearwater flying past Lizard Point. On the 14th, another Hoopoe turned up, this time at Kynance and was accompanied by a blythi Lesser Whitethroat. On the 15th, the ifrst Bramblings of the autumn arrived, with singles over Cadgwith, Ponsangath, and Kynance. There was also a Dotterel at Windmill Farm. On the 16th, the Northern Harrier was replaced by two Hen Harriers over Lizard Downs, an American Golden Plover was found by Steve B at Predannack Head and a Richard’s Pipit was found by Ed at the Ellie’s Soul Kitchen field just north of Caerthillian. On the 19th, the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the Autumn put in an appearance at Church Cove, and Ring Ouzels turned up in the Kynance Valley and Caerthillian. By the 20th, the single Ring Ouzel at Kynance had turned into three, another Yellow-browed Warbler turned up at Kynance, a probable Water Pipit turned up at Caerthillian and Joe saw a Spoonbill fly over Lizard Village.


The Coverack Headland Hoopoe. Photographed 13th Oct, but found on the 9th. STeve Bury

Great White Egret, Croft Pascoe, 13th Oct. Joe Jones.

American Golden Plover with Eurasian Golden Plover. Preddanack Head 16th Oct. Steve Bury.


The end of October was a pretty busy period for scarcities, starting with 18 Cattle Egret at Gillan Creek. On the 22nd Dougy saw two Dotterel, Great White Egret and Kingfisher at Windmill Farm, the latter probable the most unusual of the three. Also on the 22nd, a Rose-coloured Starling was found by Stuart near Grade, and a smattering of Ring Ouzels turned up Predannack Downs, Kynance Farm and Grade. On the 24th, a Woodlark turned up at Little Treliever and a Yellow-browed Warbler at Kynance Farm. More frustratingly, an AMERICAN CLIFF SWALLOW was reported flying over Lizard Village, but second-hand news of it leaked out too late for any of the locals to see it.  The 25th, was more run-of-the-mill, with a single Lapland Bunting over Jollytown. On the 26th, attention switched to sea-watching. A single Cory’s, 3 Great and 16 Sooty Shearwater were seen flying past Bumble Rock. On the 27th, 60 Sooty and 2 Cory’s Shearwaters flew past Cadgwith and a Sabine’s Gull was seen in Helford Passage. On the 28th there was another decent seabird haul, this time past Porthkerris, with 100s of Sooty and a few Great Shearwater, along with 22 Arctic Skua, 4 Pomarine Skua and two Purple Sandpipers. Lizard Point, by contrast turned up 5 Arctic Skua, 6 Pomarine Skua, 120 Sooty Shearwaters, 28 Great Shearwaters and a single Corty’s Shearwater. Elsewhere, there were also good birds: 24 Cattle Egret in a field between Mannacan and Newton-St-Martin, On the 29th, while twitching Steve B’s Great White Egret that he’d just found at Loe Pool, I found a Surf Scoter. On the 30th, aside form a Yellow-browed Warbler at Little Treliever, it was seawatching that produced the goods, with 900 Great and 92 Sooty Shearwaters past Lizard Point along with a Long-tailed Skua, a Little Gull and 4 Arctic Skuas.

Yellow-browed Warbler at Kynance Farm. Joe Jones.


Dotterel one of two on the airfield on the 22nd October. Top: Joe Jones. Bottom: Dougy Wright


Surf Scoter, Loe Pool on 29th October 2023. Ilya Maclean


November

High numbers of shearwaters continued into November, with 200 Great and 120 Sooty past Lizard Point on the 4th along with a Little Auk. On the 5th, two Gadwall, a Wigeon, 10 Firecrest and a Common Sandpiper in Loe Valley caused mild interest, but thereafter attention switched back to the sea. On the 6th both a European and a Leach’s Storm-Petrel were seen by Tony as they flew past Lizard Point along with single Sooty and Great Shearwaters. On the 8th, John saw a distant ALBATROSS species fly-past Lizard Point, very likely the Black-browed from previous years, along with 2 Little Tern, 6 Sooty and 2 Great Shearwater. Also on the 8th, a Great White Egret flew north over Church Cove and was later found on Grade Marsh and a Jack Snipe was found on Lizard Downs. On the 10th, 2 Cattle Egrets were seen near Lizard Village and Joe saw a Leach’s and 9 European Storm-Petrels flew past Porthoustock. On the 12th there was a late Swallow near Kennack Sands, 19 Cattle Egret were seen at Gillan Creek along with 2 more at Loe Pool. Thereafter, things quietened down for a few days, with a single overhead Brambling being the only bird of note.


Common Sandpiper and Wigeon in Loe Valley on the 5th. Ilya Maclean


In the 2nd half of November, seawatching continued to pay dividends with a Velvet Scoter in Kynance Bay on the 16th and Pomarine and Arctic Skuas past Lizard Point on the 17th along with a Grey Phalarope and a Sooty Shearwater. Also on the 17th a Cattle Egret was seen along the Kynance Road. Shearweaters continued on the 18th, with 9 Sooty and Great past Lizard Point seen by Dave and Steve W, along with another Long-tailed Skua. Also on the 18th a Common Scoter on Loe Pool cased some amusing ID confusion and a probable Lesser Scaup was seen by Dougy while seeking to confirm it the next day. Around this time there were at least three candidate Lesser Scaups seen on Loe Pool or on the boating lake, though frustratingly non were clinched. On the 24th two Whooper Swans turned up at Croft Pascoe and on the 25th a female Mandarin Duck at Loe Pool. The 26th witnessed 10 Sooty Shearwaters flying past Lizard Point along with 2 Arctic Skuas. On the 27th, a Long-tailed Duck turned up at Loe Pool. On the 28th a Whimbrel at Lowland Point and on the 29th Ed found a Richard’s Pipit at Caerthillian.

Mandarin at Loe Pool. Steve Bury.

Steve Bury's Long-tailed Duck and Loe Pool photographed by Joe Jones.

Black Redstarts turned up rather late this year, but a few were seen in November including this one in Porthleven on the 18th. Ilya Maclean

A late Whimbrel at Lowland Point on the 28th. Steve Bury.


December

December kicked-off with another Long-tailed Duck at Loe Pool on the 1st, a Siberian Chiffchaff there on the 2nd and a male Pintail, a Wigeon there on the 3rd. On the 8th, were 3 intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Loe Pool and on the 11th a Great White Egret flew over Lizard Village. On the 17th, 18 late Manx Shearwaters, a Puffin and an Arctic Skua flew past Lizard Point, but bird of the day was a Bittern found in Penrose in the same spot as in previous years. The Christmas period was fairly quiet, with a Siberian Chiffchaff at Coverack and 2 Red-necked Grebes reported form Mawgan Creek on the 22nd, a Great White Egret at Loe Pool and 7 Cattle Egrets at Trellowarren on the 23rd and a single Siberian Chiffchaff at Helston Sewerage works on the 26th.  On the 28th a flock of 30 Stock Dove were seen feeding on the coast path near Treleaver. On the 30th a Great Skua and two Manx Shearwaters flew past Lizard Point and 30 Stick Doves were seen near Grade Marsh.

The November Long-tailed Duck at Loe Pool was joined by a second on 1st Dec 2023. Steve Bury.

The Whooper Swans at Croft Pascoe stayed on until December. Photo; Steve Wood.

Rather few scarcities turned up in December, though there was a reaosonable influx of Short-eared Owls and Kestrels. This one photographed in Porthleven on the 21st. Photo: Ilya Maclean

A Siberian Chiffchaff at Helston Sewerage Works on the 26th. Photo: Steve Bury

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