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Waders

Updated: 2 days ago

Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus [BoCC5: Amber]

Rare with just 3 recent records, all of single birds: at Lizard Point and then the Hellarcher Valley on 2nd-4th May 1997, at Corn Goon on 20th May 2019 (M Pass) and at Gwendreath on 27th Mar 2020 (J Selby).


Historically, this species was probably more common: until the last quarter of the 19th century it was recorded annually in Cornwall. There is a remarkable report of 25 in a field near St Keverne 4th Nov 1933, with a single recorded there in late Jan/early Feb 1933 by the same observer. The observer, P. D. Williams remarks remarks that "previously only odd birds at long intervals had been seen there", implying while irregular, that this was a favoured site. The only other early record was one at Kynance on 29th Apr 1938. The species has wintered just outside of the Lizard, with a single bird seen at Rinsey on 17th Jan-18th Feb 2015.

Stone-curlew, Lizard Downs near Corn Goon, 20th May 2019. Tony Blunden


Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus [IUCN: NT][BoCC5: Amber]

Penhallurick (1969) remarks that this species increased between the late 1800s and the 1930s, but has declined since then. It is currently a common winter visitor, but much scarcer as a breeder. It was documented as breeding between Halzaphron and Gunwalloe in 1932, but between then the late 1960s no breeding occurred in this area. The 1968/72 and 2007-11 Breeding Bird Atlases confirms breeding near Kynance, but in 1988-91 Atlas birds did not breed on the Lizard. The 2007-11 also confirms breeding near the mouth of the Helford. In 2014 a pair attempted to breed at the most southerly point, and an pair was also present on Asparagus Island. Since then it has occurred regularly the most southerly point during the breeding season, and breeding seems likely.


Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus [BoCC5: Amber]

Rare with just 10 records. Singles seen on Goonhilly Downs on 20th-30th April 1993, at Gweek on 24th Sep-3rd Oct 2005 and at Windmill Farm on 16th-17th Apr 2006. Additionally three at Ruan Pool on 7th-14th Apr 2008, 3 on Mullion Golf Course on 4th Apr 2023 and one near Upper Treleaver on 5th Apr 2023.

Black-winged Stilts, Ruan Pool, April 2008. Tony Blunden,

Black-winged Stilt near Upper Treleaver, April 2023. Dougy Wright.


Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta [BoCC5: Amber]

Rare with just nine records. Past Lizard Point: two on 23rd Apr 2017 and three on 6th Jan 2019. Two records from the Helford: singles on 12th Sep 1950 and 27th-30th May 1990. Also a single feeding on the Loe Pool margins of Loe Bar on 11th May 2019 and one at Bishop's Quay in December 2022. Given the substantial increase in numbers in east Cornwall, regular occurrence in future seems more likely.


Lapwing Vanellus vanellus [IUCN: NT][BoCC5: Red]

Historically more common as a breeder in Cornwall, though there is little to suggest a significant change in the wintering status. It bred quite commonly on Predannack Downs in the 1960s and 1970s, with three pairs present in 1966/ In the 1980s, breeding was regular on Predannack Airfield, around Hayle Kimbro and Croft Pascoe, and in 1991 it also bred at a new site on Lizard Downs. Birds were present during the breeding season on the Lizard /Downs / Predannack Area up until 1999, though 1991 is the year of the last confirmed breeding record. Currently extinct as a breeder, but quite common as winter visitor particularly in the north Lizard area, though sometimes further south, for example around Grade Marsh. The highest count is of 820 on Predannack Airfield 23rd Jan 1988.

Cold-weather movement of Lapwing during the 'Beast from the east' 3rd March 2018. Tony Blunden

Historic (1982) breeding distribution of Lapwing on the Lizard. Large squares indicate confirmed breeding and medium-sized squares probable breeding. The species no longer breeds.


Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

Probably historically more common than currently, as James (1808) remarks on 'amazing flocks'. Though the species has bred historically on the Devon side of the Tamar, it has never been recorded as a breeder in Cornwall. It is currently a fairly common migrant and common winter visitor with large flocks recorded on Predannack Airfield. During harsher spells of weather it can also been seen on frost-free coastal areas of the Lizard. Recent changes in management on Predannack Airfield, mean that the wintering flocks numbering up to 5,000 in 2011 have declined in size considerably.

Golden Plover Predannack Airfield, 5th Sep 2010. Tony Blunden


Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva

Rare, just one record: an adult on Culdrose Airfield on 19th October to at least 30th Nov 1999.


American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica

Rare with around 18 records, all of singles. Difficult to determine precise numbers owing to possible duplicate sightings of the same bird. However, all records are given:


1975: 19th Sep (Culdrose).

1985: 28th Sep-1st Oct (near Kynance).

1987: 31st Oct (near Kynance).

1999: 9th Oct (Predannack Airfield).

2001: 18th Sep-1st Oct (Hayle Kimbro).

2003: 26th Sep (Predannack Airfield).

2004: 7th-14th Oct (Preddanack and Windmill Farm).

2007: 28th Oct (Predannack Airfield).

2008: 29th Aug (Predannack Airfield).

2008: up to 3 late Oct-early Nov (Pedannack Airfield)

2015: 4th Oct (Soap Cove) and 17th Oct (Predannack Airfield).

2017: 15th and 29th Oct (over Lizard Village), 1st Nov (Little Treliever), 4th Nov (Windmill Farm). All possibly relate to the same bird.

2019: 1st Nov (over Lizard Downs).

2020: 15th Sep (Lizard Point), 9th Oct (Windmill Farm), 11th Oct (over Lizard Village)

2021: 11th Oct (over Old Lizard Head)

2022: 31st Aug (probable Old Lizard Head).

2023: 3rd Oct (Goonhilly Downs), 16th Oct (Predannack Head)


American Golden Plovers on 9th and 10th Nov 2008. Tony Blunden


Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola [BoCC5: Amber]

In Cornwall generally, this species is moderately common in coastal estuaries, with evidence of an increase during the early 20th century but a steep decline thereafter up until 2005, after which numbers have stabilised, though fluctuate from year to year. On the Lizard it is a irregular spring and autumn passage migrant.

Grey Plover on Loe Bar, 4th May 2023. Steve Bury


Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula [BoCC5: Red]

Fairly migrant and winter visitor, especially at Loe Bar, although occurring more widely as a passage migrant and is sometimes seen on seawatches. It also occurs quite regularly in small flocks on Predannack Airfield. Up until Bred up until 1972 it bred on Loe Bar, a stronghold breeding site for this species. Small flocks occasionally still occur there during the breeding season, but the high abundance of dog-walkers make future breeding unlikely. The highest count is of 79 on Predannack Airfield on 16th Sep 1990.

Ringed Plover, in bare field near Lizard Village. Ilya Maclean


Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

Scarce spring and autumn migrant, with just 18 records, all of singles. Multiple records from five sites. At Loe Bar (5 records): on 8th Aug & 5th Sep 1992, 18th Mar & 4th Sep 1996 and 23rd Jul 2000. At Loe Pool (3 records): on 27th May 1974, 2nd Apr 1989 and 9th Apr 1990. At Predannack (2 records): on 7th Aug 1995 and 25th Jul 1998. At Windmill Farm (2 records) on 9th-18th Apr 2003 and 5th-6th Apr 2013. At Kynance Pool on 1st Jun 1991 and on Kynance Downs on 7th-8th Apr 2000. Elsewhere, at Croft Pascoe Pool on 26th Apr 1973, at Lizard Point on 20th Sep 1996, at Hayle Kimbro on 2nd May 1997, at Caerthillian on 10th Apr 2015 (T Blunden) and over Kynance Cove on 28th Apr 2022 (I Maclean).


Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus [BoCC5: Extinct]

Rare, with most sightings from Loe Bar, where a female was seen on 15th Apr, a male on 8th May, a female on 28th May and female on 27th Jul 1990 (all S Bury). Certainly two different birds were involved, but given the spacings between sighitngs and regular waitching of the site, there is reason to susepct that all records related to different individuals. The only other record is of one on Predannack Airfield on 10th Apr 2021 (S Kolodziejski).

Kentish Plover, Predannack Airfield, 11th April 2021. Tony Blunden


Dotterel Charadrius morinellus [BoCC5: Red]

Historically very rare in Cornwall, though some of the old records are from the Lizard area. The first record is of one shot on the Lizard on 10th Sep 1868 and two were shot by the Lizard lighthouse keeper on 28th Apr 1881.


It is currently a scarce autumn migrant and rare spring migrant. Other than the two shot by the lighthouse keeper, spring records are: 3 on 6th May 1990, 2 on 6th May 1993 and one 11 Mar 2021. It also occurred once in winter: on 5th Jan 2010. It is most commonly seen on Predannack Airfield.

Dotterel, Predannack Airfield. Ilya Maclean

Dotterel, 28th Aug 2014. Tony Blunden

Seasonal trends (left) and 5-year totals (right) of initial sightings of Dotterel on the Lizard Peninsula.


Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda

Rare though potentially more common historically, as there are several old records of birds that were shot: in a turnip field near Goonhilly on 6th Nov 1865, near St. Keverne in Oct. 1883, and at an unspecified location on the Lizard in Oct 1903. Two records of single birds in recent times: at Windmill Farm on 24th Oct 2019 (D Wright) and at an unspecified location on the Lizard on 26th Sep-4th Oct 1982. Also a probable flushed and heard calling in thick fog on 31st Oct 2009 (A Pay). Andy gives the following account:


In thick fog I heard a bird call as I walked into one of the small meadows near the car-park, a totally unfamiliar call, several times, a triple or quadruple note call slightly descending, fading away as it flew off toward the downs; although it was fairly close the visibility was so poor I couldn’t see it; I suspected Upland, especially with the habitat and late Oct date; I saw Cliff Mitchell, one of the CWT reserve workers a little later and he’d heard it too and wondered what it was. The following September I was in Illinois visiting our daughter; on my daily walk on the local prairie I heard a bird call and instantly recognised it as the Windmill Farm bird. This time it wasn’t foggy and I saw it flying away; it came down again and I was able to get a good view of it: Upland Sandpiper.


Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus [BoCC5: Red]

The spring passage of this bird features prominently in historic accounts, for example Matthews (1892) stated that its arrival at night was treated with apprehension by local fishermen who regarded whistling at night being a sign of some misfortune such as the failure of the pilchard shoals. As an autumn migrant it has always been scarcer, potentially more so historically than at present.


It is currently a fairly common spring migrant, but still quite scarce in early Autumn. More recently, there have also been occasional winter birds - e.g. one Lizard Point on 26th Nov 1996, 2 Lizard Point on 9th Dec 2013-7th Mar 2014 and one Porthleven 17th Jan 2021.

Whimbrel, Caerthillian. Ilya Maclean


Hudsonian Whimbrel Numenius hudsonicus

One recorded past Lizard Point on 19th Apr 2016 (T Blunden).


Curlew Numenius arquata [IUCN: NT][BoCC5: Red]

Historically quite common as a breeder on the Lizard, with Clarke (1906) referring to breeding that occurred on the Lizard area on Predannack and Goonhilly Downs. During the 1982/83 Lizard Atlas period up to 4 pairs are thought to have bred on Lizard Downs. Cave (2015) thought that up to two pairs bred until 2009, failed to do so subsequently, despite occasional spring records. In May 2011, however, this species was heard display calls at night from the Lizard Downs area. Breeding has not, to my knowledge, occurred subsequently.


It is currently a common winter visitor and fairly common migrant. Larger flocks are less common, though do occur periodically, with fields around Gunwalloe Marsh being a favoured wintering spot.

Historic (1982) breeding distribution of Curlew on the Lizard. Medium-sized squares probable breeding and small squares present in the breeding season and possibly breeding.


Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica [IUCN: NT][BoCC5: Amber]

In the 19th century, this species was regarded as more common than Black-tailed Godwit, though was still quite scarce and this probably reflects the increase in numbers of iceland Black-tailed Godwits. It is now a fairly common migrant in spring, probably most often seen on seawatches, though periodically birds do land, with the field above Pistil Meadow being a favoured site. It is less common in Autumn.

Bar-tailed Godwit among Golden Plover. Predannack Airfield, 20th Feb 2021. Tony Blunden.


Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa [IUCN: NT][BoCC5: Red]

Historically rare in Cornwall. In recent years the Icelandic population appears to have increased despite a marked decline in continental populations and probably accounts for the upturn in numbers.


It is currently a scarce migrant and rare winter visitor (2 on 5th Dec and 1 on 29th Dec 2010 at Grade Marsh, another there on 5th Dec 2021 and two there on 17th Dec 2022). The highest count is of 14 flying past Bass Point on 23rd Jun 2019.


Turnstone Arenaria interpres [BoCC5: Amber]

Fairly common around the coast in winter. Some non-breeding birds, mainly immatures, remain all year round. There is little evidence of a marked change in status: it was well-known from coastal locations in Cornwall as early as he 17th century and remains common at favoured sites. The highest count is of 34 at Lizard Point on 2nd Jan 2012 and on various dates in Jan 2019, which is the favoured site for this species on the Lizard, though it occurs at lower densities in suitable habitat around the coast. It is also occasionally recorded on Predannack Airfield.


Knot Calidris canutus [IUCN: NT][BoCC5: Amber]

Historically not that common, but undoubtedly did occur in small numbers. Surprisingly, however, the first documented record isn't until 1976, of one that was blown into one of the dishes at Goonhilly on 11th Oct. It remains a scarce migrant and rare winter visitor. The highest count is of 100 over Hayle Kimbro on 1st Oct 1982. In winter, one Lizard Point on 6th Jan 2009, 3 on 11th Feb-12th Mar 2011 and 1 on 4th Jan 2021.


Ruff Calidris pugnax [BoCC5: Red]

Thee is little evidence to suggest a marked change in status from historic times up until the 1980s, but the regular high counts of birds seem to be something of a phenomenon of the 1980s, when for example 72 were seen near Kynance on 17th Sep 1986 (the highest count for the Lizard). In 1990s the highest count is of 11 birds and this century no more than 2 have been seen together.

Ruff Predannack Airfield, 17th Sep 2014. Tony Blunden


It is more common as an autumn passage migrant than a spring migrant and also occasionally occurs in winter: one at Grade Marsh on 6th Dec 1982 and 17th Feb 2001 and two there on 23rd Feb 2001. Spring birds do return early, so the February records may in fact refer to migrants.


Seasonal trends of initial sightings of Ruff on the Lizard Peninsula (where dates available). Blue: pre-2020 records. Red: post-2020 records (including 2020).


Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea [IUCN: NT][BoCC5: Amber]

This species was well-known to Victorian ornithologists in the west of England, suggesting given the lower observer coverage generally, that it was formally more common in Cornwall. Certainly large flocks were documented from suitable habitat in Cornwall in the 19th century. 1959 was also something of a bumper year for this species in Cornwall, and 12 were seen on the Helford on 2nd Sep. It is currently a scarce autumn passage migrant with no spring records. Aside form the 1959 record, the highest count is of 10 at Predannack on 21st Sep 1997.


Seasonal trends of initial sightings of Curlew Sandpiper on the Lizard Peninsula (where dates available). Blue: pre-2020 records. Red: post-2020 records (including 2020).


Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii [BoCC5: Extinct]

Rare, with just two records of singles, both from Hayle Kimbro: on 4th Sep 1973 and 24th-27th Sep 2000.


Sanderling Calidris alba [BoCC5: Amber]

There is nothing in the 19th century records to suggest that the status of this species has changed much, though with it being recorded most commonly from Loe Bar, it is likely that dog-walking is a problem for this species. It is currently a scarce spring and autumn migrant and rare winter visitor (e.g. 3 Coverack 26th Dec 1998).


Dunlin Calidris alpina [BoCC5: Red]

This species bred at various locations in the east of the country, notably on Bodmin moor, up until about the late 1960s, but there is no evidence that it was any more widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries.


On the Lizard it is a fairly regular migrant and winter visitor. It occurs most regularly on Loe Bar and Predannack Airfield, but can turn up in favourable habitat just about anywhere and is quite frequently seen on seawatches or heard or seen as an overhead migrant.


Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima [BoCC5: Red]

Purple Sandpipers are remarkably site faithful - for example the flock at Jubilee Pool has been known since the 19th century. The first documented sighting for the Lizard is of a bird at Lizard Point on 19th Jan 1941, and this site is still the most favoured for this species, with a high count of 9 on 21st Jan 2013. The other regular site is near Kennack Sands. It also occurred fairly regularly at Nare Point, where one or two were seen Dec and Jan between 2007 and 2010. It also occurs sporadically at Bass Point, but as a migrant. One was at Coverack on 12th Dec 2021 and Porthoustock in October 2023.

Purple Sandpiper, Lizard Point. Ilya Maclean


Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii

One on Predannack Airfield on 20th Sep 1980.


Little Stint Calidris minuta

Scarce autumn migrant, with little evidence of a marked change in status historically, though it seems to be more abundant in some years that others. There is also one spring record, of a pair flying past Lizard Point on 23rd Apr 2017 (I Maclean). The highest count is of 45 at Predannack 21st Sep 1996 during a year of an unprecedented influx that saw the arrival of c. 1000 birds in Cornwall. This century, the highest count is of 4 at Loe Pool on 17th Oct 2004.

Seasonal trends of initial sightings of Little Stint on the Lizard Peninsula (where dates available). Blue: pre-2020 records. Red: post-2020 records (including 2020).


White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis

Rare, with just four records, all of singles. The first was a bird shot on the Lizard on 28th Oct 1870. One was seen in stubble fields near Soap Cove on 19th Nov 1982. The next two were in 2019 coinciding with a large influx to Cornwall: a bird just north of Lizard Village on 15th Oct 2019 was a different bird from that seen on Preddanack Airfield two days earlier, which was seen regularly for several days thereafter.


Buff-breasted Sandpiper Calidris subruficollis [IUCN: NT]

Sporadic visitor, becoming increasingly common and now almost annual in Autumn, with most records in September. All records are given (singles unless otherwise stated):


1977: 5th Sep (5 Predannack).

1980: 13th-14th Sep (Up to 4 Predannack).

1980: 20th Sep (Culdtrose), 4th Oct (Predannack).

1982: 25th Sep-2nd Oct (up to 3 Predannack).

1985: 28th Sep (3 Kynance)

1987: 19th Sep (Kynance)

1988: 17th Sep (Kynance)

1989: 5th-16th Sep (up to 2 Kynance and Predannack)

1991: 22nd Sep-16th Oct (up to 3 Kynance)

1992: 19th Sep (Predannack)

1993: 10th Sep (2 Kynance)

1994: 17th-18th Sep (up to 2 Kynance)

1995: 17th Sep (Predannack)

1996: 30th Sep (Predannack)

2000: 10th Sep (Loe Bar), 19th Sep (Predannack)

2004: 21st Sep (Predannack)

2005: 2nd-3rd Sep (Windmill Farm)

2006: 30th Sep (2 Predannack), 2nd Oct (Croft Pascoe).

2007: 9th Sep (Lizard area), 30th Sep (2 Predannack).

2011: 4th Sep-4th Oct (Predannack and Kynance. Max 8 birds, but possibly more involved)

2015: 13th-17th Sep (up to 2 Predannack)

2020: 20th Sep (Predannack).

2023: 29th Sep (Goonhilly), 1st Oct (Loe Pool).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Predannack Airfield. Ilya Maclean

Another Buff-breasted Sandpiper on Predannack Airfield. Tony Blunden


Seasonal trends (left) and 5-year totals (right) of initial sightings of Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the Lizard Peninsula.


Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos

Sporadic Autumn visitor, not quite annual, most commonly seen in September. After a peak in the early 1980s, numbers seem to be diminishing despite increased observer coverage. All records are given (singles unless otherwise stated):


1980: 19th Sep-3rd Oct (up to 2 Croft Pascoe and Hayle Kimbro).

1981: 19th Sep (Hayle Kimbro).

1982: 2 on 2nd Oct (Kynance).

1983: 2 on 18th Sep (Hayle Kimbro).

1984: 8th Sep (Loe Pool).

1987: 14th Sep (Hayle Kimbro).

1989: 15th-17th Sep (Predannack Airfield).

1990: 30th Sep (Predannack).

1991: 12th Oct (Loe Pool).

1994: 17th Sep Kynance).

1996: 28th Sep (Predannack).

2005: 10th-11th Sep (up to 2 Windmill Farm), 18th Sep (Croft Pascoe).

2010: 26th-29th Sep (Windmill Farm).

2011: 2 on 4th Oct (Windmill Farm).

2016: 10th Sep (Windmill Farm).

2020: 13th Sep (Windmill Farm), 20th Sep (Loe Pool).

2023: probable 30th August (Windmill Farm), 1st Oct (Goonhilly).

Pectoral Sandpipers at Windmill Farm, 4th Oct 2011. Tony Blunden


Seasonal trends (left) and 5-year totals (right) of initial sightings of Pectoral Sandpiper on the Lizard Peninsula.


Woodcock Scolopax rusticola [BoCC5: Red]

Historically shooting Woodcock was a favoured pass-time among the trigger happy landed gentry, and the Lizard holds the record one day bag for England and Wales of 106 Woodcocks shot on 21st December 1920 by six guns on the Lanarth estate, St. Keverne.


It is currently a scarce autumn, rare spring and fairly common winter visitor, most often associated with cold weather movements. ‘Considerable numbers’ were observed around the cliff tops between Lizard Point and Kennack Sands during the exceptionally in cold period in January 1963.


Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus

Though not quite as numerous as Common Snipe, in the 19th century this was considered a common winter visitor to Cornwall, as universally distributed as its more common relative, often occurring in flocks. Snipe shooting was a favoured pastime in the 19th century and 'snipe marshes' were a common feature of the landscape, probably sometimes deliberately created. Modernisation of farming and improved drainage has undoubtedly been partly responsible for its demise. It is currently a scarce migrant and scarce winter visitor mostly flooded areas of heathland on Goonhilly and Lizard Downs.

Jack Snipe, 7th Dec 2010. Tony Blunden


Great Snipe Gallinago media [IUCN: NT]

Two old records of birds that were shot: one near Mullion in 1862 (no date) and one near Helston on 10th Oct 1898.


Snipe Gallinago gallinago [BoCC5: Amber]

Probably bred fairly commonly in west Cornwall, including on the Lizard in the 18th and early 19th century, but by the mid 20th century this species was confined predominantly to the east of the county. Historically, it was also much more common as a winter visitor, its demise primarily the result of habitat change. In the 1930s, cows that were not in milk were generally turned out on the heathlands in winter and their feet cut up the wet ground making it very good for snipe. Myxamotosis probably also resulted in a decline owing to reduced grazing of grassland by rabbits. Nevertheless, it is till a fairly common migrant and common winter visitor, and is particular abundant on the wet heathland on Lizard Downs and Goonhilly, where poor drainage leaves lots of standing water. However, it occurs quite frequently on any small wetland. High counts include 71 at Ruan Pool on 20th Dec 2001, 92 on Lizard Downs on 21st Dec 2021 and 250+ in fields between Trethvas and Grade Marsh on 17th Dec 2022.

Historic (1982) breeding distribution of Snipe on the Lizard. The small square indicates present in the breeding season and possibly breeding.


Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor

Just one record, of a single on Loe Pool on 18th Aug 1990 (S Bury). First seen on th shingle shore of Carminowe Creek opposite Lower Pentire cottage, it then flew to pool next to Loe Bar before relocating to the Hayle Estuary.


Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus [BoCC5: Red]

Rare with just two sets of records more than 100 years apart. The first is of several seen on the Helford River in October 1891 amidst a large flock of Grey Phalaropes. The second is of a single bird at Polpear Cove on 30th Sep 2022.

The 2022 Red-necked Phalarope at Polpear. Tony Blunden


Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius

Scarce late autumn migrant and occasional winter visitor, most often seen after gales in late autumn. One on Helston Boating Lake on 17th Sep 2017 was quite photogenic. Possibly a lot more common in 1800s, with a large flock reported from the Helford in October 1851. However, even at the time large flocks were quite unusual and associated with stormy weather, and similarly large flocks have occurred elsewhere in Cornwall more recently (e.g. in 1960, when 750-1,000 were seen near St Ives on October 16th).

Grey Phalarope, Helston Boating Lake. Ilya Maclean


Seasonal trends of initial sightings of Grey Phalarope on the Lizard Peninsula (where dates available). Blue: pre-2020 records. Red: post-2020 records (including 2020).


Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos [BoCC5: Amber]

In the 1800s this species was documented as breeding quite widely across Cornwall, though the nearest place to the Lizard that is specifically mentioned is Marazion Marsh. It is now a fairly common migrant, though much commoner in autumn than in spring. A few also overwinter in the Helford. It has probably become more common in winter as a result of milder weather. Nevertheless winter records date back at least as far as 1960, when one was recorded at Loe Pool on Dec 14th.

Common Sandpiper, photographed on the Lizard in 2023 by Steve Wood


Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius

The only record is of an adult in breeding plumage seen at Loe Bar on 14th June 1924.


Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus [BoCC5: Amber]

Scarce autumn migrant and rare winter visitor (e.g. one wintering near Windmill Farm Dec 2019). Autumn passage starts early and birds can be seen as early as July. There is little evidence of a marked change in its status, with it being documented on the Lizard in the first Cornwall Bird Report in 1931. However, milder weather may be responsible for the winter record as its habit of wintering Cornwall since to be increasing. The highest count is of 20 at Windmill Farm on 23rd Aug 2011.

Green Sandpiper, Kynance Farm Pond, 19th Aug 2023. Steve Wood.


Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes

Rare, with just 5 records, all of singles. At Hayle Kimbro on 21st-30th Sep 1972 and 10th Oct 1980, at Loe Pool on 23rd-28th Sep 2000, at Windmill Farm on 10th-14th May 2014 (T Blunden) and at Croft Pascoe Pool on 19th Aug-4th Sep 2014 (S Votier).

Lesser Yellowlegs, Windmill Farm, 11th May 2014. Tony Blunden

Lesser Yellowlegs on Croft Pascoe, 2nd Sep 2014. Tony Blunden


Redshank Tringa totanus [BoCC5: Amber]

Common migrant and winter visitor, especially around the Helford.


Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola [BoCC5: Amber]

Scarce spring and autumn migrant. The highest counts are of 6 at Penrose on 17th Aug 1952 and at Croft Pascoe on 19th Aug 1952. There is little evidence of a marked change in status - records have increased, but only in line with observer coverage. The first documented record from the Lizard was on 8th Aug 1937.


Seasonal trends of initial sightings of Wood Sandpiper on the Lizard Peninsula (where dates available). Blue: pre-2020 records. Red: post-2020 records (including 2020).


Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus [BoCC5: Amber]

Scarce. Most records are from the Helford area where it over-winters sporadically. Elsewhere one was shot on Goonhilly on 3rd Dec 1858 and singles were seen at Loe Pool 14th-28th Sep 1952, Croft Pascoe Pool 28th Apr 1963, Kynance 8th Sep 1968 and Sep 2015 (no date), Croft Pascoe Jan/Feb 1983, Hayle Kimbro 9th Sep 1986 and 28th Aug 1991. Away from the Helford, the only record involving more than one bird is of two at Windmill Farm on 31st Aug-1st Sep 2011.


Greenshank Tringa nebularia [BoCC5: Amber]

Scarce migrant, often heard flying overhead at night and far more frequently recorded in autumn than in spring. There is little to suggest its status as a migrant has changed particularly, more records recently are probably only indicative of increased observpor coverage. However its status as a winter visitor to the Helford, where about 30 have overwintered in most recent years is quite a new phenomenon. One or two started doing so in the 1960s and numbers have steadily increased since this time.


(Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca)

The only record is from St Anthony-in-Meneage on 26th Aug 1950, and was rejected by the BBRC.


Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola

One shot by a boy 'Coot shooting' on a pool on Lizard Downs on 9th Jun 1874. The only pool on Lizard Downs on which Coot occur with any frequency is Hayle Kimbro. One was also at Hayle Kimbro on 29th-30th May 1973. There is also a record of a pratincole species at Predannack Airfield on 20th May 2022, which wass thought by the observor to be this species, but was accepted as a pratincole spp by the BBRC.

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