Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Cornwall - part 3

Another lazy morning for our final day in Cornwall, saw breakfast at 7am, before heading down to Gwennap Head. With no more than a gentle Northerly breeze, we were not expecting too much from our sea watching session but it was a glorious morning to be out. As we set off from the car park in Porthgwarra we heard a Chough, but none of us managed to see it. This was followed by a fly over Grey Wagtail.

The headland was a blaze of purple and yellow with the heather and prostrate gorse in full bloom. Consequentially the air was alive with bees, hoverflies and butterflies, with numerous Clouded Yellows, Painted Ladies and Silver Y's being the Lepidopteran highlights. On setting down to sea watch I quickly connected with two Sooty Shear's not for out. Not long after Rob picked  up a dolphin and by the time we all got onto it, it was part of a pod of 15 - 20 Bottlenose Dolphins.  Another 4 Sooties and a Balearic Shear' a high flying GN Diver along with a showy Pom Skua were the highlights.

After Robs' treat of tea on the cafe we bashed the bushes along Porthgwarra valley with nothing to show for it. We decided then to try Nanquido valley, which again didn't hold out much in the way of bird life but 3 sparrowhawks passed over during our visit and telegraph poles on the hill side held a Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker. One, or more Yellow Wag was heard to fly over, but could not be found. A warbler in song near the old mill house had us going but we could not find it anywhere. It sounded like a Sylvia type warb, but not quite right for any of the usual suspects. Alas after 3-4 minutes it shut up and wasn't heard again. The Valley held a number of Golden-ringed Dragonflies and the second of our Rose Chafers (see photo's below), the first being found in the Cot valley.

And then on to the home journey, broken with a call in to Davidstow Airfield for a Buff-breasted Sandpiper that had come up on the info services earlier that day. There were some birders on the bird so we quickly got onto it - I think it's the first time I've ever used a scope to see a Buff-breasted as they are usually so close that binoculars are hardly needed. 3 Curlew Sand's that had been seen minutes before we arrived, couldn't be found before the small wader flock was spooked by a model airplane and took off to another part of the abandoned airfield.

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