August 2019

30th-31st. A trip to Cornwall with Jeff Turpin. The brown booby is very elusive. I missed it by a few minutes when it was first photographed at St Ives on Tuesday 27th because the location was not specified, and I went to Porthmeor where it was first seen rather than Porthgwidden, where it was photographed. No luck during the day, though I saw 32 Mediterranean gulls and >40 sandwich terns off Clodgy Point on 26th. Also several dolphin sightings, including some leaping off Porthmeor Beach Cake on 22nd. The ones I saw were almost certainly common dolphins, though someone called Risso's on the booby watch. Great shearwater flying E from the Island on 25th.

Jeff and I did an early morning booby watch from 'Pete's Bench' above the Hayle Estuary on 30th. Someone called the bird at about 7.30h, and it looked quite convincing only to show white on the rump when it flew past, so was a young gannet. We visited Hell's Mouth, and had good views of fulmars in close, a big movement of Manx shearwaters, and saw a chough. At Hayle RSPB we saw a black- and a bar-tailed godwit, Mediterranean gull and a black kite was pointed out as we returned to the hide. The bird was distant, but convincing with a slightly forked tail, brownish overall, and brown underwings with more black towards the tips. Several barrel jellyfish were dead in the estuary. Then we went to Trevescan and had good views of the WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER. A yellow-legged gull was in the field nearby.

western Bonelli's warbler

yellow-legged gull

We did some seawatching off Porthgwarra watching a steady stream of Manx shearwaters, and having some of my best views of choughs, with two colour-ringed birds present. The male is the second-oldest bird in Cornwall at 13, and fledged from the second nest in Cornwall in 2006. His mate is 9 and is the offspring of the original Lizard pair.In July, Birdguides reported 'Conservation group Cornish Choughs has announced a record-breaking year for nesting  choughs in Cornwall. A total of 12 pairs bred successfully this year, two more than in 2018. On top of this, 10 more young birds fledged this year, with a total of 38 youngsters leaving their nests.The species has enjoyed a successful last few years of breeding in Cornwall, after the species reappeared in the county in 2001, at The Lizard, following a 54-year absence since the previous last breeding record, near Newquay in 1947. The 2001 birds were proven via DNA testing to have come from Ireland'.


Then it was back to St Ives, with no sign of the booby from The Island.

We woke early again on 31st, and looked across St Ives Bay from the Island and Porthgwidden, but no sign of the booby. As we drove back to Bristol, we checked my bird alert just before the Hayle roundabout, and the brown booby had been seen off Gwithean 10 minutes earlier! A quick drive to the car park, and a walk to Pete's Bench, and the BROWN BOOBY flew past, quite close inshore. A great end to the trip. If it hangs around, there's a chance I could see it from my bedroom window. Amazingly, a second bird appeared on The Lizard soon afterwards!

brown booby

brown booby

brown booby

17th. West Sussex. Whimbrel and ringed plover on West Beach, Littlehampton.

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