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Falmouth Birding (2 Viewers)

dantheman

Bah humbug
Thought I'd start a thread on what is now my local patch - save cluttering up the main Cornwall one with lots of my more uninteresting sightings! There is definitely some good birding to be had in the area, with Falmouth Bay, Swanpool and the Penryn River/Carrick Roads around Falmouth itself, with College and Argal Reservoirs just nearby. Slightly further afield we have Stithians Reservoir, The Helford River, Devoran Creek, and stretching it a bit, The Lizard, Hayle and areas towards Truro.

If anyone wishes to contribute their sightings/comments please do - there are plenty of birders in the vicinity I presume and it's almost on the itinerary of anyone visiting West Cornwall.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
17th March 2010

Spent a couple of hours this morning checking Pendennis Point and nearby, hoping for some early migrants/sea action.

No sign of a hoped for Wheatear as I walked around the Castle itself, plenty of Greenfinch doing their slow song flights, Bullfinch pair etc etc. A Rock Pipit on the low walls around the point appeared to be of the Scandinavian form. The sea seemed relatively quiet, with a few Shag diving very close inshore (actually not even getting below the surface as they peered beneath), a single distant Gannet diving in the mist, and a Fulmar patrolling the point itself. The other main attraction was a single Whimbrel on the rocks - can't say if it was a fresh migrant or one of the birds I had seen earlier back in January. Around the point and quartering the sea were 4 (possibly 5) adult Mediterranean Gulls, very smart with their summer hoods.

Swanpool held nothing of note, 2 Buzzard putting up all the gulls just as I arrived. Little Grebes, Herring Gulls washing etc ...

On the way to my ducks I stopped very briefly at Argal Reservoir to scope it from the roadside, but all I could see on the water were a group of 10 Tufties dozing out in the middle.

Not bad overall. The first proper migrant could turn up any day now (if it hasn't already), or it could be a few weeks before I catch up with one personally, we'll see .... ;)
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Had to pick up some tyres so visited Helford Passage and tried scanning a few of the visible creeks later on in the afternoon of the 17th - not much to show, highlights being a couple each of Little Egrets, Redshank, 4 Common Gulls in flights and 7 roosting Oystercatchers ...

Stithians Reservoir 18th March 2010

Ended up birding in the wind and rain with the waterproofs back in the car. Walked the eastern side and back, taking in both the northern and southern cutoffs.

Waterfowl type things;

Great Crested Grebe 4
Little Grebe 8+
Tufted Duck 15
Mallard 5
Gadwall 1f
Goldeneye 2f
Wigeon 20
Mute Swan 3
GBBG 2
LBBG 6+
Herring Gull 40+
Cormorant 3
Coot 9
Moorhen 3
Snipe 1
Grey Heron 1

The feeders were a hive of activity, with

Chaffinch 19+
Greenfinch 15
Reed Bunting 3
GSW 1
Marsh Tit 1
and small numbers of other expected species.

c. 60 Fieldfare flew over whilst I was there, with a couple of Stonechat, Grey Wagtail and a small flock of 9 Linnet the other main interest around the reservoir. Most exciting was a Stoat which ended up bounding along the path and to within 15 or so feet of me near the northern end.

Driving later on in the evening nearer Falmouth, had to avoid several of the Common Toads crossing the road, and also had a mouse sp. run across the road.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
The first proper migrant could turn up any day now (if it hasn't already), or it could be a few weeks before I catch up with one personally...

Well, I did catch up with some proper ones this afternoon. Drizzly rain easing off and 8 Sand Martin hawking above College Reservoir. Very nice!!

Other birds included 15 Teal flushed from the margins, Tufties and a Pochard etc (didn't attempt a count as too foggy) and a Kingfisher. In the woods a Sparrowhawk, Chiffchaff and a couple of singing Goldcrest.
 
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Ilya Maclean

charlatan
Good idea Dan - will contribute when I get some time to go birding, in the area which will hopefully be more often than of late. You up for a visit to the Lizard tomorrow?

The only noteworthy record I've had of late was a Dipper in the river near Tremough Campus recently. The Blackcap continues to frequent my Garden in Penryn
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Visited the 2 local resevoirs between checking the moth trap and feeding the ducks this morning.

Argal was quiet, with 1 female Goldeneye the highlight.

College Reservoir seemed quiet, but a few things noted after I'd been there a while;

On the waterfowl front; Mute Swan 2, Wigeon 3, Canada Goose 11, Moorhen 1, Tuftie 23, Coot 15, Pochard 1, Cormorant 8, Mallard 1, GCG 1, LBBG 1, Herring Gull 30+

Jay, Sparrowhawk (male), Chiffchaff, at least 4 Goldcrests (3 singing) etc

Potential highlights were Collared Dove (1) and Feral Pigeon (5 flew over), simply because I don't recall seeing them here yet ... but the real highlight was the hirundines, with a minimum 23 Sand Martins (some moving through), generally hawking high up, and 3 Swallows, also high towards Asda and moving through quickly.

Interesting to see 2 immature herring gulls trying to catch the sand martins in mid-air; they had absolutely no chance, and after a minute or two gave up! The woods full of bird song of course, had a close encounter with a male Chaffinch as two fought in mid-air, spiralling down until one landed about 5 feet away from, looking a bit suprised when it realised I was there ...
 
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dantheman

Bah humbug
Probable Black Kite reported over Stithians Res. today. Anyone got any more info on this?

I don't, any more than is reported on the Cornwall Birding website...

I did however speak to the person who reported the Hoopoe near Constantine - turns out it was my neighbour, and it probably flew over my field about half an hour after I left this morning ... grrr! (Had 2 Woodcock fly over the field on my return at about 5pm - presumably flushed from somewhere.)

A lot of fairly good stuff hitting the west cornwall area at the moment ...
 

henerz1

Well-known member
Falmouth strikes again - Alpine Swift over Swanpool on Saturday. Shame the news didn't get out at the time for the locals.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Falmouth strikes again - Alpine Swift over Swanpool on Saturday. Shame the news didn't get out at the time for the locals.

Wouldn't have done me any good on that day (I was working in town), but yes, it could have made a lot of sense for others in the area - although if it really was a brief flythrough, you'd have to have been pretty lucky to connect at the spot you'd expect it to be at next ... always worth a try though.

... Anyway, not knowing anything about this one I had a quick look at College Reservoir this evening at about 6.30 - but not a hirundine or an apid (?) to be seen. I did however have 3 Swallows fly across the road ahead of me just after I'd left my place near Treverva - no red-rumps that I could see unfortunately.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Paid a few brief visits to the local 'hotspots' over the last few days -

Tuesday am - Pendennis Point - highlights 1 Guillemot and 1 Grey Seal
Swanpool mid afternoon - 1 GCG (in the rain)

Tuesday pm - College Reservoir - no hirundines (again in the rain.)

This morning (Weds 24th) - College Reservoir - Sand Martin c.50, Swallow 4. Numbers of waterfowl continue to gently slide - Mute Swan 2, Canada Goose 2, Wigeon 1, Mallard 2, Tuftie 17, Coot 12, Moorhen 1.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
College Reservoir at 5pm had c. 80 Sand Martins and a handful of Swallows. Mallard, Moorhen and Canada Goose numbers had all risen also - to 5, 3 and 3 respectively... :-O

(3 Mallard and 1 plastic little white version (Call duck?) flew in), 2 Bullfinch etc.

At my field, near Treverva, had a Merlin fly through just as I was about to leave (6:30 pm)

Edit; the hirundines are probably no longer that notable; had a Swallow fly over the house as I went to get into the car this afternoon in Falmouth.
 
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dantheman

Bah humbug
30+ Sand Martin and 3 Swallow hawking over College again this morning. Peregrine west over Treverva at about 6pm, first I've seen in the area this year.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Pendennis Point, Falmouth this morning c 8.30 - 9.30

Fulmar patrolling the point, 2 Med Gulls (1ad, 1 1stsummer) and 3 Gannet past. On the central part female Blackcap. Swanpool held the usual suspects, with 3+ Little Grebe, reduced numbers of Tuftie and Coot.

Chiffchaff 1 and a Raven 'body rolling' near Treverva, and c.20 Sand Martin over College Reservoir (viewed distantly from the dam at Argal).
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
College Reservoir 27th March

A brief visit in the afternoon gave highlights of c.30 Sand Martin and c.15 Swallow.

Took a trip a little further afield to the Lizard on the 28th. A handful of Swallows and a Sand Martin on Helston Loe Pool had built to maybe 15 birds. The 2 drake Scaup still present, with no sign of the Hoopoe, or indeed anything really, in the deteriorating weather at Windmill Farm. 15 Golden Plover on Predannack airfield. Odd passerines like Robins and Wrens dotted around, with maybe a dozen or more Chiffchaff in total for the day. Complete fog at Land's End. A pleasant sight on the sea off Poltesco was a raft of 6 Black-throated Divers, with another nearby, preening and showing well in a momentary lapse in the rain.

A couple of Willow Warblers reported singing at Tremough campus, Penryn in the morning of the 28th.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
29th March 2010

An early evening visit to College Reservoir (7 - 7.50pm). Largest flock of Hirundines so far, with c.110 Sand Martin and c.10 Swallow wheeling above, mostly at a reasonable height. 11 Cormorants roosting in the trees on the island, waterfowl slipping yet further with 2 Mute Swan, 4 Canada Geese, 8 Tufties, 6 Coot, 3 Moorhen, and 1 each of Mallard, GCGrebe and Wigeon. However, balance restored by the presence of a fine pair of GARGANEY - feeding unobtrusively in the floating vegetation at the southern end. Nice!

My first Willow Warbler of the year, one having a puddle bath up at the field near Treverva, with Tawny Owl heard, Barn Owl seen in its roost box, and a Snipe flushed from the field.

Edit: I was going to post up a photo of the Garganey, a record shot as it were, but what with the low light levels, low quality phonescoping equipment, low level of expertise and shooting through the branches of a tree ... decided to give it a miss ... ;)
 
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henerz1

Well-known member
Well done with the Garganey Dan! Even though most of the wildfowl move off it can be a great time of year at College Res for birding.
 

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