April 24th 2022
Seven guests joined Paul on a tour in search of spring migrants and summer visitors this morning. Meeting at 8am, we started the day with a flyover Sparrowhawk before we even got in the minibus! Our day started proper at Nanquidno Valley in the far west of Cornwall. This beautiful valley is famous for rare and scarce birds so we were hopeful we might turn something up. The sun was still out at this point and the top of the valley was full of bird song with a chorus of Blackcaps, Wren, Dunnock, Song Thrush and Robins. Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen using the telegraph poles as makeshift trees and our first Swallows of the day flew over. Further down the valley we came across two Chough and two Whitethroat. On the way back to the minibus, we scanned a ploughed field and found a Short-toed Lark! This is a rare bird in Cornwall. They breed in Southern Europe, north-west Africa and across temperate Asia and southern Russia to Mongolia. The lark was no doubt the bird reported two days previously from nearby and was a lifer for most of the group.
Our next destination was Kenidjack Valley, another superb West Cornwall hot-spot. We took a very short detour to a field opposite Land’s End airport where we picked up the reported juvenile Glaucous Gull, before heading to Kenidjack. As we walked down the valley, we heard the unmistakable call of a Hoopoe, but unfortunately could not locate it! However, We fared better with the Woodchat Shrike that eventually showed well devouring what looked like a small lizard! Another lifer for most of the group! We left the shrike to its lunch and walked to the end of the valley where we watched Gannets, Shags and Manx Shearwaters offshore and the now obligatory Stonechats around the old mine buildings.
The afternoon was spent at Porthgwarra where we enjoyed coffee and cake at the cafe before a leisurely walk over the moor. A Jay in the car park ensured we had all the corvids for the day, three more Choughs were seen and Willow Warbler, Fulmar and Whimbrel were added to the day list. There were at least 15 Wheatears on the more including some stunning males. With time pressing on we headed back to the van and a welcome rest, having clocked 7 miles walking and birding.
Another great spring tour with some amazing birds and brilliant new and returning guests!
Full List of Birds Seen
Gannet, Shag, Manx Shearwater, Fulmar, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, GLAUCOUS GULL, Whimbrel, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, SHORT-TOED LARK, Jay, Chough, Magpie, Raven, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat, WOODCHAT SHRIKE, Starling, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Wheatear, Stonechat, Linnet, HOOPOE (heard), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Pheasant.