Tuesday, 21 July 2015

20th July Pendeen & Marazion

In stark contrast to yesterday's perfect weather, we awoke this morning at a suitably late time to a heavy Pendeen mist and drizzly rain. This didn't seem to have affected the moth trap which I'd put out last night which was absolutely heaving with moths. The only problem was going to be sorting through them all in the rainy conditions. In the end I did what I usually do back home in Oxford and I brought it inside so that I could sort things out in the dry. However, there were so many flies and moths in the trap that our entrance area by the door was soon buzzing with flies and moths, much to everyone else's annoyance. In the end I could do nothing more than quickly scan through all the trays and then transfer them into a waterproof container which I stashed down at the end of the garden out of the wind and rain, where they would be safe and I could come back later and check them out. I then went back to the cottage and spent a busy fifteen minutes removing all the insects from the entrance area where they shouldn't be. In hindsight I should have just left the trap where it was until the weather improved. Still I'd seen enough to realised that this was probably my best every catch in terms of numbers (I normally don't catch great numbers back in Oxford due to my urban location, my small home-made trap and my actinic bulb that I use so as not to annoy the neighbours). What's more there were lots of moths that I wasn't familiar with from back home which is one of the delights of mothing in a different location. The children were very taken with the four large Elephant Hawkmoths in the trap and they each wanted one on their hand. As I write this I'm still working on quite a few of the ID's but it was certainly a good catch.

Elephant Hawk Moth
Plain Golden Y
A rather worn Kent Black Arches - I'm not sure how rare this is down here in Cornwall but I know that I'd be very pleased to catch one of these back in Oxon
The weather briefly lifted mid morning but then closed in again so we decided to do what we usually do in such circumstance, namely head over to the other coast to Marazion after lunch. The fog was lingering on the hills still as we drove across but once we descended into Penzance itself it started to brighten up. We tried to park at the charity car park near the entrance to the standing stone area of the RSPB marsh only to find that it had been taken over by the St. Aubyns Estate and that it was closed. A shame, as I always liked that car park. So we headed back to the Station Inn car park and walked along the beach to Marazion from there. There was a nice flock of forty or so waders dodging the kite surfers: mostly Sanderling with a few Dunlin and Turnstone thrown in. 

Marazion waders
It was breezy but nice and sunny and we were all in a good holiday mood as we ambled along. We headed over across the causeway to the Mount and had a cup of tea in the café there. Then the girls headed into Marazion itself to do some gallery viewing whilst L (our nine year old son) and I wandered back along the beach. He amused himself building sand castles by the Red River mouth whilst I rummaged through the coastal plants there. A few Swifts were feeding overhead and I checked them carefully for rarer cousins but of course without luck.

Sea Holly - one of my favourite coastal plants
Sea Sandwort
Sea Kale

Frosted Orache

Eventually the rest of the family caught up with us and we wandered back along the beach to the car. A quick nip into the supermarket for provisions before we headed back to the cottage for dinner. Whilst my VLW cooked I went to sort through the moths properly, making sure that I had photographed all the ones that I didn't recognise for ID'ing when I had more time.

Peach Blossom - always one of my favourtie moths
It was still rather windy and cold by the cottage so instead of our usual post-dinner walk to the lighthouse we stayed in and played Trivial Pursuit before turning in for the evening.

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