Monday, 15 August 2016

Sunday 13th August St Just to Pendeen

This morning I awoke far too early - it always seems to take me a while to adjust when I come down to stay here in Cornwall. Eventually I gave up trying to go to sleep again and got up and checked the moth trap though there was nothing especially interesting in there. I'm finding that I'm currently going through a phase of being less interested in moths: the prospect of trawling through the guide book trying to ID a particular moth isn't presently very appealing. I don't know if this will change soon, perhaps I'm just trying to do too much at present what with birds, butterflies, odonata, flowers and moths too. 

It was promising to be a lovely day and I spent some time just admiring all the bird life around the cottage. The Swallows are nesting in the neighbours barn again and I counted a total of thirty birds on the roof tops this moring with a good mix of youngsters in amongst them so they've clearly had a good season.

One of the many Swallows
The two resident Ravens were still around as well as the usual Goldfinches (again with lots of youngsters) and Linnets. There were quite a few Warblers in the garden this morning: I spotted a Sedge Warbler briefly (they're not normally to be found in the area so this one was clearly passing through), a couple of Willow Warblers and three young Whitethroats.

Juvenile Pied Wagtail

Buckshorn Plantain - it's rather plentiful around the cottage
Today our plan was to go on a walk along the coastal path so we made some packed lunches and then walked up the road into Pendeen. There we caught the open-topped coastal bus along the road to St. Just. It was strange seeing the familiar countryside from such a high vantage point: you could even peer into peoples upstairs windows should you be so inclined. We nipped into a shop for ice creams to fortify us  on what was turning out to be quite a nice warm day, before wandering off down the road towards Boscean. The Cornish lanes are a riot of colour at the moment with the oranges of the Montbretia's, the reds of the Red Campion and the yellows of the Hawkweeds and Ragworts all combinding to give a very summery and abundant feel. Once at Boscean we headed down to Kenidjack, partly as the children wanted to say hello to the donkeys. In the event we could only find one, which seemed to be dressed as a Zebra for some reason. There were a couple of Buzzards flying around as well as several Whitethroats and some Stonechats. Rather unusually, I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying off as we approached the bottom cottages.

The zebra donkey

Kenidjack Blackcap
We next climbed the path up to Kenidjack Castle where we had our packed lunch before heading off along the coastal path. There was nothing of particular note but it was just great to take in the vivid colours: the deep blues of the sea and the lovely purple Heather and the white Wild Carrot. At Botallack we came across a large flock of 14 Chough: apparently they've had an excellent breeding year and there are lots of new youngsters around now. Also noted were a couple of Kestrel and a Raven.

The mines at Botallack - looking very much like something out of Lord of the Rings

Sea Aster growing by the mines
Sea Spleenwort, also by the mines

Further along the path as we neared home I spotted my first Wheatear of the autumn at Geevor tin mine (where one is often to be found).

Geevor Wheatear

Juvenile Stonechat

Back in the cottage it was time for a welcome cup of tea and a chance to veg out for a bit. The weather was so nice that we had our dinner out in the garden this evening before heading down to the lighthouse to stare at the sea. As a rather chilly breeze had now sprung up we decided to shelter on the western side of the lighthouse wall and to look out for Dolphins though sadly we did't spot any this evening. Then it was back to the cottage to chill for the evening and once it was properly dark when spent some time in the garden looking out for Perseids - this time we managed to see a few. Then it was time to turn in for the night - it had been a very relaxing day.

Cliff-top Rock Samphire

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