Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tuesday 14th February: Hayle & Helston

Without the central heating we were glad to get out of the house and into comparative warmth of the car. We decided that we needed some pampering after our cold ordeal and headed to some shops just outside Hayle where there was a warm café. I negotiated half an hour at the Hayle estuary whilst the rest of them did a spot of shopping and I arranged to meet them in the cafe for a nice hot lunch. At the estuary the location of the gull flock meant that viewing from the Lelant Saltings platform was optimal so I headed over there where I met a local birder called Jean (from St. Buryan) whom I met previously whilst hunting for cranes on the Lizard. We scanned the birds together where we found 7 common gulls (6 adults and a first winter), a flock of 7 sanderling, a rather out of place kittiwake, a few bar-tailed godwits and one very distant godwit that looked like a black-tailed godwit though I couldn't be certain. There was no sign of any white-winged gulls nor any yellow-legged gulls, both of which had been reported there recently. My time was soon up and I went off to join the rest of the family for a well-earned hot meal.

After lunch we decided to explore somewhere we'd not been before so headed off to Porthlevan. Not much to report there on the bird front apart from the usual rock pipits, herring gulls, oystercatchers and a couple of mute swans and a mongrel duck in the harbour. There was one distant diver off the harbour mouth, probably a great-northern though I only had my bins and the family wouldn't let me linger to scrutinise it for long enough to be certain.

Porthlevan harbour - not quite in the same league as
Mousehole as far as pictoresqueness is concerned.

En route to Porthlevan we'd passed the Helston boating lake and Luke had been sharp enough to spot a playground there so we'd promised him that we'd stop off there on the way back. Beth took Luke off to the playground whilst I nipped in at the sewage works and my VLW had a nap in the car. The sewage works still held plenty of chiffies (I estimate about a dozen) including the presumed tristis bird though once again it didn't call. In addition there was a meadow pipit and the grey wagtail still. Over at the boating lake I revelled in the nice close views of the gulls though there was nothing of particular note on the larid front. There appeared to be some displaced ducks though with 20 or so tufted ducks, 4 shovelers and a single drake pochard that was ridiculously tame, coming right up to anyone who looked remotely like they might have some bread.

The tame pochard. If this had been a redhead or
canvasback, it would have failed the "bread test" totally.

After that it was a spot of shopping and tea in Penzance and home to find that the heating had been fixed and the cottage was lovely and warm - horray!

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