TRANSFER FROM PENZANCE TO ST MARY’S, ISLES OF SCILLY - VISIT TO LOWER MOORS via OLD TOWN BEACH - PORTHLOO BEACH – CLUMP DUMP – RETURN TO LOWER MOORS
WEATHER: A perfectly still morning for our crossing, but the aafternoon was wet and windy with lots of driven rain,
Four of us met up at the quayside in Penzance Port at 8am, we quickly boarded the Scillonian III and sat on the starboard side. Scanning the harbour we found a single male Eider Duck, Cormorants, Shags, Ruddy Turnstones and Rock Pipits. Further afield we added Northern Gannet and Greater BB Gulls.
After setting sail on time, it took us a while before we starting logging new birds, we saw many small groups of Kittiwakes and much fewer numbers of both Razorbill and Guillemot.
the Cornish Coastline from the ship, the Minack open air Theatre can be seen in this picture to the left of the beach
We sailed past Lands End and then it started to get more interesting. An increase in Gannet numbers and Kittiwakes was followed by large groups of Manx Shearwaters, we found two Sooty Shearwaters but they we flying ahead of us and we lost them as they cross the bow.
Our best sightings were of Balearic Shearwaters, we saw half a dozen of them and the best was of a single bird flying alongside the ship not 50 meters away, it showed incredibly well for 5 minutes!!
Birders on the port side of the ship saw 3 more Sooty Shearwaters and then a Great Skua, luckily for us we found another one about 30 minutes later. We also added a Fulmar to the list but it was seen only by me! A Pod of Common Dolphins was nice to see, so was a flock of about 15 Dunlin and that just about sums up our trip.
We docked at St Mary’s Harbour around noon and walked up to our guest house after stopping to buy lunch supplies, the wind ad picked up and it started to drizzle.
By the time we checked in and got ourselves ready it was raining steadily, it did not bode well for our afternoon’s birding. We walked down into Old Town and scanned the beach where we found Oystercatcher, Curlew, Greenshank, Black-headed Gull and Matt saw a Kingfisher.
The walk onto Lower Moors was wet we saw zilch but we did hear a Chiffchaff call. From the main hide we saw a dodgy Mallard, Moorhen and two Water Rails and that was it.
From then on things just went down the pan, it got wetter and windier by the hour. We made our way to Porthloo Beach which held a few waders but it was so windy and the rain lashed into our faces. We found a little shelter and scanned the beach, we saw a few Rock Pipits, a lot of Oystercatchers, 3 Ruddy Turnstones and 2 Common Ringed Plovers and a single Common Sandpiper.
the beach at Porthloo, boy was it dismal standing there!
We took a track off the main road through to Old Town passing the dump and the small wood known as the ‘clump dump’ where we found a little bit of shelter from the wind but not the rain. No birds were seen along the track. A couple of birders told of the sighting of two Whinchats at Lower Moors and two of us went to investigate whilst the rest of the group walked up the hill to the guest house.
As we sat in the hide at Lower Moors the rain stopped but the Whinchats had gone, we watched Water Rails and Moorhens and two Grey Wagtails dropped in. We called it day after 30 minutes and went back to the digs.