MARIZION MARSH - PORTHGWARRA - GWENNAP HEAD - NANJIZAL
WEATHER: a much brighter start but rain showers all day on and off. Light north-easterly winds much cooler.
Whilst there was 'twitcher-bedlam' all over the west of the UK (especially the Welsh and Scotish Islands due to the unprecendented 'fall' of American Warblers! The main sightings were of; Magnolia, Bay-breasted and Black-and White Warblers, with Alder Flycatcher thrown in.
I was calmy doing my duty and continuing my recce trip in Cornwall, regardless. Cornwall missed most of the migrant fall but a few species turned with an American Cliff Swallow, a Black-and-White Warbler, a few Red-eyed Vireos on the Isles of Scilly and a couple of Red-eyed Vireos around Land's Ends.
St Michael's Mount from Marizion Beach Road
We spent the first part of the morning looking at tracks around Marizion Marsh and the beach area, we spent a little time looking for the Woodchat Shrike again. Whilst scanning the bramble clumps I picked out a Whinchat but had no sign of the Woodchat.
a record shot of the Whinchat in poor light
Walking a little further along the reserve we saw a group of about 20 people watching and photographing something. When we go there we found out we had just missed the Woodchat Shrike sitting out nicely, we were told erronously that the bird flew to the left so we walked that way, then lookng back I saw everyone watching something 100 meters to the right. When we got there we were told we just missed the Shrike again!!
We also missed a couple of sightings of the Purple Heron in flight!!
scanning for the Woodchat Shrike from the roadside viewing point at Marizion
We left the area and headed to Porthgwarra which took about 30 minutes to reach. It was lovely down there, bright sunshine and a light breeze. After walking up to Gwennap Head and I sat down with my scope for a little sea watch. The throngs of Cory's Shearwaters that had been reproted earlier had moved on, I picked out about half a dozen but they were quite a distance away. One good sighting was of a Sooty Shearwater which flew past much closer, a great sighting.,
Wolf Rock viewed from Gwennap Head - a couple of weeks ago a Red-footed Booby was sitting on top of the lghthouse rigging!! I am sure it could have been picked out with a scope on a clear day like today.
Dawn's pictures at Gwennap and Porthgwarra
We then had lunch at the picnic benches around the car park before walking up the valley towards Carn Trevean. We noted lots of Stonechats, a Sparrowhawk, some Red-billed Choughs, lots of Jackdaws, Rooks, Crows and Wood Pigeons. The 'Stone Pool' on the moorland was practically dry and there was no sign of the Wryneck that had been reported there this morning. We did see half a dozen Golden Plover on the moorland which was nice.
the moorland at Carn Trevean
For the afternoon we decided to to visit the seculded Cove at Nanjizal, I wanted to see if it was practical to take a group there. Having never been there before I was taken aback when I found out there wasn't a driveable road to the cove. We had to park near Polgigga and walk a muddy track. It was about 2 miles to walk along a track with high hedges and not much of a view.
Eventually we found the picturesque Cove and I saw a Red-backed Shrike (briefly, four times) it was a small consolation for missing the Woodchat Shrike. More Chough flew over us, I decided that this long walk wasn't worth the effort, unless some mega bird was waiting for us.
the ivy in the hedgerows were covered in butterflies and bees at Porthgwarra and Nanjizal (Comma and Red Admiral shown above)
on one bush we counted 16 butterflies: Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell we also saw Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Small Copper and a lots of Large & Small Whites. We listed 10 species in all.
It was 4pm when we got back to the car so we called it a day, we had no time for birding in the morning and we were vsiting our friends Mary and Brian, David and Fred the dog, in Hayle tonight, so that was the end of the birding.
Tomorrow we shall leave straight after breakfast and hope the traffic along the A30 raodworks isn't too bad!!!
P.S. I write this after our journey home - the traffic was horrendous, it took over 4 hours to get home instead of 2 1/2. The roadworks are a nightmare and to top it all we sat in an 11 mile tail-back after a crash near Exeter!!