It’s time for another Cornwall Garden Listing League roundup, and this one is a double roundup for April and May. The last few months have seen a few changes at the top of the leader board, with the top 11 gardens separated by only 9 species at the end of May. Matt Southam at Praa Sands now leads the way, ahead of Dave Parker at Marazion and Dan Beadle at Coverack in joint second. Reuben Veal at Crowlas is still the top inland garden, now tied with John Holmes at Penryn on 63 species, whilst Andrew le Masurier now rounds out the top 6 with 62 species from his Tresillian garden.
Bird of the month for April was probably the Osprey seen by Stu Bearhop on the 12th, whilst May’s top bird could be one of several – Rosalind Smith’s Black-tailed Godwit at Feock, Dan Beadle’s brief early-morning Spotted Flycatcher, Tony Wilson’s drake Mandarin that turned up at Callestick on 17th May, or Andrew le Masurier’s garden-tick Hobby on the 28th.
The Cornwall Garden Listing League combined list now stands at 128 species, and many of the recent additions to the list were spring migrants: Helen Norton had both the first House Martin on 3rd April and the first Swallow at the end of March, Rob Nicholls at Grampound Road had the first Swift on 24th April and Tony Wilson garden-ticked the first Sedge Warbler of the year the following day. Phil McVey had a Grasshopper Warbler, an impressive bird to record from a garden, on the 26th, and four days later the first Cuckoo was heard by David Collins at Constantine. What may well have been the same bird was noted by Tim Pinfield at Constantine on 2nd May, with Cuckoos also being recorded from gardens at Lanlivery (3rd), Penryn (24th; only the second from John Holmes’s garden in 9 years) and Coverack (30th).
Red Kite was a popular addition during the period, with 8 gardens adding this impressive raptor. 19 gardens have now added Swallow, 16 have added Swift and 15 have added House Martin. Gary Healey at Crowlas became the third lister to record Sand Martin this year, and Whimbrels turned up for Matt Southam at Praa Sands and Andy Blonden at Polbathic on 18th and 20th April respectively. Manx Shearwater was one of 7 additions to the combined list in May, with the first seen by Matt Southam on 5th.
Moving away from migrants, David Collins got the eighth garden tick bird of prey species in four years in the form of a Kestrel on 29th May, as well as adding Shelduck on the 9th. Andrew le Masurier also added Shelduck, on 15th May, and on the same day became the second lister to record Little Grebe this year. Another highlight from Tresillian was a Firecrest on 1st April, whilst Phil McVey added a Yellowhammer on 23rd March.
Looking forwards, it’s perhaps surprising that no garden has yet recorded Whitethroat, whilst only 5 gardens have recorded Willow Warbler, so these are species to keep an eye out for. Whilst spring migration fades out into June, there are a number of potential scarcities or rarities that might turn up, such as flyover Bee-eater or Crossbill, or perhaps even the Black Stork that’s been roaming parts of the county in recent days. Rosy Starling is another potential garden addition with the currrent influx… Good luck!