Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Wednesday 6th July: Porthgwarra

Today was forecast to be a strong south-westerly wind so clearly a Porthgwarra day. I had some things to do first off and was intending to head down there a bit later once I'd finished my various tasks. By late morning I was ready and set off for PG, en route getting a text through from Bird Guides that there had been 90 Cory's shearwaters through from 8 to 9:30 in the morning. This looked highly encouraging and so it was with some optimism that pulled up at PG, parked in my usual location and headed off to towards the cliffs. Whilst Gwennap Head is the well known sea-watching point in actual fact the locals tend to use Hella Point and so it was to this latter location that I headed. When I arrived there were half a dozen birders including Dave Parker and Martin Elliot and they'd had over 600 Cory's go through earlier though of course it had all died down by now. Soon after my arrival most people headed off leaving just myself, Martin and one other birder whom I didn't know. I soon managed to show off my true sea-watching calibre by making the classic school-boy error of calling out a juvenile gannet as a Cory's but once I'd destroyed all my credibility it was quite useful as I could then ask lots of questions of these sea-watching experts with no reputation left to lose! Amongst the things I learnt was that early in the sea-watching season PG is generally better than Pendeen which comes into its own later on in the year. We also discussed spotting Yelkouan shearwaters and the two sub-species of little shearwater, all most educational.

It turned out to be a reasonable little session with a total of five Cory's going through, 6 sooties, 1 arctic skua and 1 storm petrel. Martin had quite a few more stormies than that but it's very difficult to pick up someone else's stormy at any distance. Martin told me that in the past on good Cory days things are often good in the morning, tail off during the day and then pick up again late afternoon so he stayed on after I left mid afternoon. He turned out to be right and a couple of hundred more Cory's went through as well as a single great shearwater later on. I'd thoroughly enjoyed my PG session and by the end I'd managed to get my eye in a bit more, learning the different lines that the difference species went through so I didn't feel like such a novice.

I found this interesting spider down by Pendeen,
I've asked on twitter what species it is and will report
back once I find out

Yet another lighthouse shot, this one is of course Pendeen

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