Thursday, 30 July 2015

30th July - Mopping Up

So I'm back home, and looking on in frustration as this week first a possible Kermadec Petrel is seen feeding off my beloved Pendeen, and then a Barolo (née Little) Shearwater goes past as well. Such is life!

I've finally finished going through all my moth and plant photos. There's not been anything too exciting that I've not reported from before apart from several Small Mottled Willows, immigrant moths which I'd overlooked in the first instance because they are rather drab looking and I was not familiar with them. Back home in Oxford I would get rather excited to find this in the moth trap though I suspect that it's less of a big deal down here in Cornwall.

Small Mottled Willow
One story that I didn't mention whilst I was down was that of the Swallows that are breeding in the barn next to our cottage. When we arrived they were were four youngsters just about ready to fledge. During our stay they left the nest though would largely stay in the barn where the adults would bring them food. One day just after they'd fledged, as we were about to get into the car to go out for the day I heard a great commotion and saw all four youngsters flying about in their clumsy way. The cause of this fuss soon became apparent when a Sparrowhawk was seen bombing around, hotly pursued by the parents who were calling loudly. By the time the hawk had gone there was no sign of the youngsters at all and the parents were circling around calling plaintively to try and find them. This went on for at least half an hour and we left the cottage for the day rather worried that they had been scattered to the four winds and wouldn't be able to fend for themselves. Fortunately when we arrived back that evening all four birds were back in their barn safe and sound. We were all very relieved.

The young Swallows, shortly before fledging
Looking back on the holiday, the highlights for me were the great mothing (I added at seventeen species to my rather modest life list total) and the great views of the Cory's Shearwater as it went past Pendeen. I also added a number of new plants to my list though as that is even more modest than my moth list so it's not saying much. Still it keeps me occupied during the summer months.

English Stonecrop - a tiny succulent flower

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