Friday, 10 September 2010

Friday 10th September: Porthgwarra

The next morning I planned to get up early to do some sea watching. With a strong south westerly wind forecast, rather than my local spot at Pendeen I was thinking that Porthgwarra would be a better bet. For a couple of years I'd been keen to visit the South-West seawatch that takes place there each autumn at Gwenapp Head so I thought that I'd have a go this morning. I met the official bird recorder for the day in the car park and we walked up together, rendezvous'ing with the mammal recorder on the Head. It was a very quiet start to the session with very few birds seen in the first hour. We had perhaps eight or so balearic shearwaters and even fewer manxies, a dozen or so kittiwakes, a few dozen auks, about three or four bonxies and an adult pale morph arctic skua.

In the strong winds a couple of ships got into difficulties
and the lifeboat went by a couple of times

After a couple of hours I decided that I had to leave to get on with some work down in the cottage so I made my way back to Pendeen. I spent the next few hours dismantling a bespoke MDF bookshelf that the previous owners had had installed. This was a rather tedious process as I only had a jigsaw to cut it up with but eventually I managed to get it all down. By now I'd had enough DIY for the day and as I was feeling rather dusty I needed some fresh air. With a melodious warbler belatedly reported in 60 foot cover as well as a wryneck at the Coastguard cottages at Porthgwarra it seemed obvious that I should head back there. I spent a brief time checking out 60 foot and the cottages but to no avail so I walked back up to the Head where I met up with the sea watch team again. The big news was the Runnel Stone, the buoy to mark the edge of the reef just of Gwenapp Head, had come adrift and was floating off. The coastguards had been informed and a boat was going to come down from Portsmouth to re-install it. On the bird front a sooty shearwater and a Sabine's gull had been the highlights whilst I had been away. I settled down with them for another hour which this time was much more active with plenty of birds coming through and we must have added at least 20 balearics during that hour alone. I then headed back to the cottage for dinner and then later that evening picked up the rest of the family at the station at Penzance.

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