Thursday, 19 March 2015

Back to Cornwall - part 3

Last Friday was my second day out with Jayne. We kicked things off by returning to the field at Gulval, haunt of the Little Bunting. This time, we were there alone, and after a few minutes the bunting flew into one of the trees that it had been frequenting before.

The light was better today, and so were the views. As we watched, the bunting came down to the ground to feed, and returned to some nice photogenic spots to pose. It is a great-looking little thing, all complex markings and lovely cream, smoke and chestnut tones.

Keeping it company, along with the aforementioned Chaffies, were a Robin, a couple of Dunnocks, and this lovely (though non-Siberian) Chiffchaff.

From here, we headed up to the Hayle estuary. It was markedly colder on the north coast than the south, and seriously breezy. We had a lovely walk around Copperhouse Creek, seeing Redshanks and Curlews plus many gulls (sadly not including any unusual species).

Overhead action included a Sparrowhawk and a couple of Common Buzzards. A small ornamental pond among pretty community gardens by the marshland was stuffed with fresh frogspawn.

We went on to Newquay after this, and a walk along the cliff edge, fighting the high winds which nearly knocked us over more than once, to a vantage point from where we could watch Fulmars and Kittiwakes. The Fulmars in particular provided some wonderful views.

Wonderful to be eye-to-eye with these gorgeous seabirds, even though I wished I had a zoom lens for some of the opportunities.

Actually, I DID have a zoom lens, but it was my short landscape one. Here's a look across the cliff edge and sea - stunning views, to which I really haven't done justice, but manoeuvering on the cliff-edge was tricky and I was quite keen not to be blown over.

The Kittiwakes (about 30 pairs I reckon) didn't come so close but still provided some great photo opportunities against the wild sea-and-rocks backdrop.

I didn't want to leave, but on the other hand it was freezing, and the idea of a hot beverage was becoming irresistably compelling, so we went back into Newquay and had tea at the cafe by the boating lake. The lake here was busy with gulls, many of which were amusing themselves by playing with twigs, discarded tennis balls and other random items. There were also assorted manky Mallards and some of the best-looking Feral Pigeons I've ever seen.

Two examples of the Handsome Ferals gang.

We then took a short walk down the Gannel Estuary, in search of another Iceland Gull, with no luck. Tide was low and there were many Oystercatchers foraging on the saltmarsh.

Once again, afternoon tea and cake was enjoyed at Marazion, and we decided to round off the day at Newlyn Harbour.

With a great effort of will I kept the birding lens in my bag, and took a few pics of the boats.

We found nothing unusual in the harbour today so the short lens was allowed to stay for the entireity of our visit. Here are a ton of Herring Gulls loitering hopefully by a recently arrived fishing boat.

And that's Cornwall, or bits of it, anyway. Hope y'all liked the pics. I gather that I got out of the county just in time, as the world and his wife (in fact, especially his wife) are heading there in droves in response to the BBC's new 'Poldark' series, starring the supernaturally stunning Aidan Turner, as well as the earthily stunning Cornish landscape. So I'm OK about leaving Cornwall for now, but I hope to make a return visit next winter.


Warren Baker said...

Interesting trilogy Marianne :-) Makes a change from Kent birding and scenery.

Phil said...

A great trio of posts Marianne. A great series of pictures too of some super birds. Hard to pick faves but the Fulmars, or drippy nosed Fulmars as Carol and I call them, would have to be up there.
We had our honeymoon in this are of Cornwall some 42 years ago, about time to go back I think!

Shane said...

Great report and photos Marianne my favourite by far is the gull in this report that almost looks like it's surfing.