Wednesday, 22 July 2015

21st July Just Pendeen

Today was warm and sunny though with quite a stiff south-westerly breeze to take the edge off the temperatures. With nothing urgent to chase down I treated myself to another lie-in this morning and my VLW and I put the world to rights over a cup of tea as we sat in bed and stared out the window across the moors towards the tin mine ruins below Pendeen. After that and with no moth trap to unpack (it had been too breezy the night before) I pootled around the cottage for a while before I started to get restless. I happened to glance out the window and saw that the sea was looking a bit rougher than it had been earlier and that the waves appeared to be coming in towards the shore a little. Normally when there's a south westerly wind there isn't much wave definition on the water where we are but this looked a bit more westerly. With nothing better to do I decided to head down to the Watch for a spot of sea watching.

On the way down I spotted a large orange butterfly enjoying the lovely summer flowers that are growing along the lighthouse boundary wall as you walk down towards the gate. Dwarfing the neighbouring Meadow Browns in size it was clearly a Fritillary and could only be a Dark Green. I managed a single record shot before it was carried away by the breeze. I've seen Dark Green Frits only once before here at Pendeen when I saw one bombing over the bracken whilst walking towards Portheras beach.

Dark Green Fritillary - a rubbish angle but at least you can see what it is

Down at the Watch of course I had the place to myself as with a south westerly wind all sensible sea watchers would be over at PG. Still, I'd negotiated a three quarter hour session with my VLW and I could relax and enjoy myself. The light was perfect with full-on sunshine shining directly behind me so everything was perfectly lit. In fact it was so good that I soon adopted the tactics of scanning with my bins and then going over to the scope should I need to. There were plenty of the usual Manxies going by reasonably close in. My hunch about the wind seemed correct that it was just north of westerly and the birds were coming in close as they passed the point. I picked up a larger brown bird leisurely shearing away out in front of me and got my scope on it expecting it to be an immature Gannet of some description. Much to my delight it turned out to be a Cory's effortlessly shearing away with hardly a flap of its wings. In the bright light I could make out all the details and watched as it seemed to be coming in closer as it rounded the point. I enjoyed it for several minutes as it worked its way past and by the end it must have been well within the reef distance. This was by far my best ever view of this species with previous sightings having been very distant views at PG - if only all sea watching could be like this! Pleased with this I blagged an extra half hour with my VLW in the hope of seeing some more good stuff but I noticed that the wind was moving back to its usual south west direction and I saw nothing more of interest. I realised afterwards that I'd seen no auks at all and hardly any Gannets with only a few Kittiwakes and Fulmars to break up the Manx Shearwarter monotony.

I found this female Silver-studded Blue down by the lighthouse - whilst they are to be found locally I've not seen them just here before
Back home the others were up and about now so we decided to spend the day locally. We headed over to Boat Cove first, stopping to admire the seals close in by the rocks there. Unfortunately we weren't the only people to have this idea - I've never seen the cove so packed with people and I could see quite a few over at Portheras Beach as well. The reason was clear: it was lovely and sheltered in the cove from the wind. We loafed about for a while before heading back up the path to the cottage for lunch.

Boat Cove Seal
That afternoon we opted to walk west along the coast path to Geevor Tin mine before heading up the hill back into Pendeen. By the stream at the bottom of the valley just south of the cottage one can often find Small Peal-bordered Fritillaries at this time of year and sure enough I spotted one working its way along the stream. The children, who had gone on ahead, claimed that they'd seen a dragonfly as well and there was indeed a lovely Golden Ringed Dragonfly working the area - the first that I've seen on the stream though they're plentiful enough at Kenidjack for example. At the mine I spotted my first Wheatear of the autumn - there always seems to be one here. Usually we have tea at Heathers tea shop in the village but annoyingly it was shut - we were all so disappointed. We picked up a snack at Boscaswell stores and trudged back down the hill to the cottage. I admired all the summer flowers as I went though sadly my camera battery had run out so I couldn't take any snaps.

There was lots of Betony along the path
to Boat Cove this morning

We did take out traditional post-dinner walk down to the lighthouse this evening though it was rather breezy and the sun was obscured behind cloud so we didn't linger. Then it was time to continue with the Trivial Persuit game before turning in for the night.

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