Saturday, 23 April 2016

Cornwall for 3 days

Hello all,
At the end of my Easter Holidays, I visited Cornwall for a short break. We were staying near Penzance, and the coast offered for some great wildlife watching.

Fulmar in Flight
Friday 15th April
After travelling down from Somerset, we decided to go straight to Land's End. Here, there were some incredible Fulmars, a Gannet, a Chough, a Black Redstart, huge numbers of Sand martin, House martin and Swallow, Shag, Cormorant, a Manx Shearwater, Stonechat and Whinchat. Phew.
It was an incredible few hours. The view was picture-perfect, and the sea, too, looked like someone had edited it, with a huge mix of green, blues and greys. Fulmars must take the award for the best fliers in the bird world. Travelling at great speeds, they manipulate the wind, allowing themselves to freefall, yet somehow always in perfect control!
I noticed the Gannet out at sea from its large body, black wingtips contrasting the all-white body, and flight. The Manx shearwater was far out, but there have been as many as 40,000 close in off Land's End. Both the CHOUGH and black redstart offered only brief views.

View from the Minack
Saturday 16th April
The day started off very well, with a red-throated diver and Iceland gull making flyovers through Mount's Bay, by St.Michael's Mount. Then, a trip to Porthcurno proved hugely fruitful, with a Razorbill, Sandwich terns, Common Terns, "Comic" Terns and gannets plunging in front of the beach. From The Minack, a PACIFIC DIVER made an appearance, distinguishable through binoculars from a nearby Black Throated Diver. There has been a pacific diver in the area for some time, and it was a delight to see it. A Grey seal was also excellent, before a Mediterranean gull made a flypast, slightly later on.
From Porthcurno, we went to Lizard Point, the most southerly place in Britain. Here, another Grey Seal was a nice find, as well as a Whitethroat, a possible Black Guillemot (too fast for a photo...), and best of all, a pod of 8-12 Dolphins. Personally, I think that these were Bottlenose, not Common, but my Cetacean knowledge is not vast...
The day ended with a walk to St.Michael's Mount.

Sunday 17th April
Hudsonian Whimbrel
Sunset at Mount's Bay
Before we set off, I had one more birding mission to complete. This was to see the Hudsonian Whimbrel at Perranuthnoe. It had been there for months, but after an hour searching, very little birdlife at all had been seen. We walked to the next cove, to find two other birdwatchers looking at a flock of Whimbrels. The Hudsonian whimbrel had recentely flown off, but there was a good chance it would revisit. After just 10 minutes waiting, the bird flew in, with the dark rump obvious in flight, and neater, lighter head pattern obvious once it had landed. This MEGA provided reasonable views, especially through a scope, and it behaved differently, and more aggressively to the Eurasian Whimbrels. Also in the area were two Little egret, Turnstone and Oycs.
A visit on the way back to North Cliffs had to show for it Fulmars, Guillemot, gulls and a Gannet.

All in all, an excellent trip.


Grey Seal
The Mega from America-Hudsonian Whimbrel

Gannet Diving

Austere Jackdaw

Strawberry anemone?

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