Monday, 3 August 2015

Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd August

We're back down in Cornwall for our official holiday this week. Having learnt from our difficult return journey last time we decided to come down on Sunday to avoid the traffic. As I was feeling a bit under the weather in the end we decided not to stop off anywhere but instead we left at a leisurely time late morning and arrived a bit more than four hours later in Penzance for our now-traditional Sainsbury café stop and shop. I was amazed at how busy it all was with holiday makers but soon we were back in the car and whizzing down to Pendeen where it was relatively peaceful. After unpacking we nipped down to the lighthouse to stare at the sea and to unwind. In the breezy conditions the only thing of note that I saw was a Painted Lady on the wall of the lighthouse. We had a quick and easy dinner and then settled down to watch some DVD's for the evening.

The next day after a less than ideal night (someone had left one of our windows partially undone so it rattled all night in the wind) we awoke to a rather windy Pendeen. I decided to head down to the Watch for a bijou sea-watch even though the wind was all wrong, being the usual south-westerly. There I met another visiting birder (no locals of course who wouldn't bother at Pendeen with a SW wind) and we passed a rather dull hour watching a steady stream of Manxies go by. The highlight was a single Common Tern  but apart from that there were just the usual Gannets, Fulmars and Kittiwakes, the latter including one juvenile.

Common Scurvygrass growing by the lighthouse
As the weather actually wasn't too bad today despite the wind, for our main outing we decided to head over to Porthgwarra and from there walk along the coast path to Porthcurno, get a pasty there from the beach café and then come back again. This was the plan and was indeed what we did. Out of the wind it was actually rather hot along the coastal path and by the afternoon the sun was out and it was all very pleasant. There wasn't much in the way of bird life to report apart from a couple of skulking Whitethroats and several Ravens along the clifftops. On the sea the Gannets were very busy diving away very close in in spectacular style.

Sharp-angled Peacock skulking in the Blackthorn
Part way along the walk we came across several Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries feeding away and offering some great views - it's always nice to see these diminuative Fritillaries.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
The coastal path was adorned with lots of summer flowers including Wild Carrot, Betony, and Common Fleabane which had come out since my last visit.

Common Fleabane
We got to Porthcurno, managed to get our pasties from the scrum in the café and went down to a sheltered corner of the beach to eat them. Then whilst the others went for a paddle, I had a little nap on the beach to catch up on my sleep. Then it was time to head back the way we'd come.

Back at Porthgwarrra we had a welcome cup of tea in the re-vamped café (now run by the St Aubyn's Estate who seem to be taking over everything these days) before heading back to Pendeen. The evening was spent eating, playing Trivial Pursuit and dancing to music before a final trip to the lighthouse to watch the waves crashing over the rocks in the half light of dusk. Then it was back to the cottage for a well-earned rest.

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