Friday, 19 August 2016

Thursday 18th August: Porth Kidney & Mousehole

We awoke to a thick Pendeen fog this morning, brought on by the calm conditions. As any parents of children of the right age will know, today was A-Level Results day and our younger daughter was nervously awaiting her results to see if she was going to be able to get into University or not. Her official first choice was Strathclyde but she'd actually been more inclining towards Swansea (her second choice) of late. The wind direction today was actual a moderate North West so normally I'd be down at the Watch from first thing but I felt that in the circumstances I should be around to lend moral support at this difficult and potentially holiday-spoiling time. Instead my VLW and I lay in bed listening to the sound of Daughter 2 getting up (she sleeps in the room above us) and firing up her lap top to see what had happened. Fortunately, the outcome was good as, despite not getting quite the grades that she was hoping for, Swansea still accepted her which was a great relief all round. Back to holiday mode!

The moth trap was quite full and my children and I helped to sort through it though as things were rather damp from the fog in the garden I ended up storing the moths in a cardboard box by way of a shelter for the day. 

The best of the catch (at least as far as the children were concerned) was this giant female Oak Eggar
As the others were in no particular hurry to get out, I suggested that whilst they pootled around the cottage I would go out on a birding expedition. 11 Little Terns (a species which I still needed for Cornwall) had been reported over at Carnsew Basin at Hayle yesterday evening though we'd been at our dinner party then so I'd not been able to do anything about it at the time. According to Dave Parker (who'd found them), they'd looked settled so I decided to go and take a look this morning. The fog was incredibly think up on the hill between Pendeen and Penznce with viewing down to about 30 yards so I had to take it very slowly though fortunately it was clearer over the other side. I stopped off very briefly by the causeway bridge at Lelant (where I noticed they've re-done the pavement to include a cycle track) though there was nothing of note. Similarly, Carnsew Basin held almost nothing. Dave had suggested that as it was low tide then Porth Kidney Sands might be a better bet so I went to take a look. This was not a site that I'd actually been to before but by following signs for the beach I managed to find a large car park that overlooked the Hayle river estuary. 

Porth Kidney Sands
In the distance I could see some Terns though they turned out to be 13 or so Sandwich Terns with one Med Gull in amongst them. I did spot a couple of Terns flying along the shoreline which didn't look like Sandwich and which seemed to have the long-winged look of Littles though they were too far away for me to be sure. I also spotted one Tern flying around which seemed to have a rosy breast and long streamers and pale wings so of course I was thinking of Roseate but again it was just too far away to be certain

Back at the cottage we had lunch before heading out for the afternoon. Today's location was Mousehole as the others wanted to potter about amongst the shops. I was in two minds about whether to tag along or to go and see something but in the end I couldn't think of anything that I obviously wanted to do so I came along. By way of somethinng different, we parked up in a layby along the Newlyn to Mousehole road and took a footpath down to the concrete path that borders the shoreline all the way along there. This offered a very pleasant alternative to walking along the busy road and it meant that we didn't have to endure the parking and driving nightmare along the tiny streets of Mousehole. On the way I took snaps of any interesting plants that I found and we spotted a loafing seal nearby.

White Fumitory
Marsh Woundwort

Once in Mousehole we decided to visit the Rock Pool café which I'd learnt about earlier in the year when looking for the American Herring Gull. My VLW  has a thing about small sheds or shepherd huts in gardens and we managed to secure the garden "shed" table. The great things about this café was that they had a very large selection of gluten-free cakes - I was almost overwhelmed by the choice. The tea, cakes and location were all first rate and we unanimously decided that this was our new Tea Room of Choice for Cornwall, surplanting Delicious in Marazion (which has now closed anyway).

After our tea, the three girls went off for some girly shopping whilst our son decided to do some paddling in the harbour so I sat on a bench and kept an eye on him. It was all very pleasant and I happily watched the people coming and going about Mousehole. 

Mousehole haarbour

Eventually the others came back and we headed off back towards the car and the cottage. After a hearty pasta dinner we all realised that we were rather tired so after a bit of vegging out I released the moths out of their box into the garden and we went to bed relatively early.

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