Sunday 7th January 2024

Our first tour of 2024 saw 7 intrepid guests take on the challenge of seeing over 93 (last years record) species of bird in a single day. We started at 8am at HQ with the usual Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Robin, Herring Gull etc etc whilst we loaded up the bus, then headed for Truro. At Sunny Corner we started the list proper with Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshank. Redshank, Dunlin, Shelduck but sadly no Avocet. Then, a short journey to the popular Loe Beach, Feock. By popular I mean with non-birders. The car park and beach were full of swimmers and gig-rowers, all enjoying the flat calm conditions we were also relying on. We eventually picked up our target birds adding SURF SCOTER, Long-tailed Duck and Red-breasted Merganser to the day list. We then called in at Swanpool, Falmouth and despite not seeing the reported Black Guillemot, we added further waterbird species like Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe and Tufted Duck.

Our next destination (after a very quick stop at Helston Sewerage Works for Chiffchaff and Grey Wagtail!) was Penrose NT near Helston. The main target here was Bittern and we probably stayed on site here longer than we should, but it was worth it when the bird eventually showed itself! In the mean time we added Mistle Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Pochard, Water Rail and Cetti’s Warbler to the list! It was then onto the A394 towards Marazion. Once there we walked down to the mouth of the Red River in the hope of seeing the reported BONAPARTE’S GULL. Initially it wasn’t there but whilst watching a couple of Eiders off St Micheal’s Mount, one of our group happened to turn round and notice a small gull had dropped inn behind us right next to the bridge! We decided to have lunch at this point overlooking the river with the Bonaparte’s Gull competing with Turnstone for food along the shoreline!

We started of the afternoon period at Jubilee Pool, with forty-eight Purple Sandpipers, Sanderlings and Ringed Plovers then moved on to Newlyn Harbour briefly where the stunning male Black Redstart performed for us. It was then back up the A30 to the Hayle Estuary where an Iceland Gull had been reported. Luckily it was still there, albeit asleep! The Spoonbill was stood nearby and was also asleep! After a good hour we had added 15 more species to the ever expanding list. A quick count up revealed we had seen 87 species by this point and the record of 93 was clearly in sight! Hell’s Mouth was our next destination where we easily added Raven, Fulmar and a brief view of Chough. One of our eagle eyed group then picked up a Peregrine sat above us on the cliff face! Happy with our lot we headed back to van and our planned final destination at Tehidy Woods. As we put scopes and stuff in the boot Paul picked up an unexpected bonus Short-eared Owl quartering the field below us! Tehidy provided us with Mandarin Duck, Siskin and Great-spotted Woodpecker and having already now broken last years total we decided to add Shoveler at St Gothian Sands NR on our way home for our 96th Species.

Incredibly we missed some very common birds including Goldfinch, Linnet, Greenfinch, Skylark and Coal Tit! A bit more luck, an extra 30 minutes of daylight and less people/traffic at Godrevy might have helped us with at least four of those! But we still saw some fantastic birds and had a lot of fun along the way.

Species List

Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, SURF SCOTER, Red-breasted Merganser, Pheasant, Great Northern Diver, Fulmar, Little Grebe, SPOONBILL, BITTERN, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Gannet, Shag, Cormorant, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Sanderling, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank, Redshank, Turnstone, BONAPARTE’S GULL, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Iceland Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Razorbill, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, SHORT-EARED OWL, Kingfisher, Chough, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Cetti’s Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Wren, Nuthatch, Starlin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Dunnock, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, House Sparrow, Chaffinch.