Wednesday, 15 October 2014

15th October: Pendeen & Porthgwarra

In stark contrast to yesterday, the weather forecast was for strong winds and heavy rain and this was indeed what I woke up to. I was therefore in no hurry to get out there and with the forecast suggesting that this would continue for much of the day I gloomily wondered what I was going to do today. After breakfast I busied myself with writing up yesterday's birding on this blog and this kept me occupied for some time. When I finished I looked outside to find that it had started to clear up: the wind was dropping and it was much brighter outside. I therefore donned my gear and headed out to see what was about at Pendeen. It was still windy out and with the direction being a strong south-easterly I headed down past the lighthouse and along the coastal path a short way where it was sheltered. It seemed that the birds had had the same idea for there were surprisingly good numbers along what is normally a fairly barren stretch. The pick of the bunch was a Wheatear, the first I'd seen on this trip.There were also several Stonechats, a phyllosc that eventually turned out to be a Willow Warbler and a skulking bird that momentarily had me thinking Radde's before it showed itself to be a Wren, Back on the windy side there were the usual Mipits flying about in the fields and down the western coastal path were several Chiffies and Stonechats and a skulking Blackbird who's call had me thinking Ouzel for a while until it showed itself. So all in all pretty much the usual suspects.

Back at the cottage I caught up with my guests who were going to head out to St Ives for the day. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and the pager and a few exploratory texts that I'd sent back were doing little to inspire me. In the end the report of a Ring Ouzel at Porthgwarra decided it for me as this was my Cornish bogey bird so I headed south, stopping at St Just to pick up some lunch. I stopped off at Roskestal Farm once more and this time I found the elusive Hooded Crow almost immediately, sitting on the roof of one of the farm buildings. I took a few snaps before it took exception to my presence and flapped off out of sight.

The Roskestal Hoodie

I arrived at PG and parked up at the top of the hill, walked down to 60 Foot Cover to eat my sandwich though the only thing I saw was the resident Greater-spotted Woodpecker fly over. Next it was on to the Subalp "twitch" which consisted of a single hopeful birder. I told him where it usual showed and then I wandered off over the moor towards the dried up pond where the Ring Ouzel had been reported. By now the wind had dropped to a whisper and it was amazingly sunny and warm. In fact it was altogether very pleasant to be out in the fresh air in such wonderful scenery and the almost total lack of birds didn't seem to matter. I wandered about looking to see what I could find but apart from a couple of Stonechats there was remarkably little. Over by the Half Way Wall I found first a helice form of Clouded Yellow (my first sighting of this sub-species) and then I spotted a fluttery white moth. My first thought was the rare Crimson Speckled Footman though it turned out to be a rather delicate looking translucent white micro with an orange-brown costal border. Given the location and a half-remembered photo from somewhere I was thinking that this was a rarer immigrant moth so I texted John Swann a description and he came back with Palpita vitrealis, which was indeed a rare immigrant micro and a moth tick for myself. 

Palpita vitrealis

Back near the pond I spotted a couple of birders in the distance and a quick view through my bins ID'd them as my good friends "Philary" so I hurried to intercept them. We then had a lovely long natter together where we discovered that we'd all been to the same University (though different colleges) together at the same time and in fact we had several friends in common. What a small world! Eventually we parted company and I wandered back towards the Coastguards and the subalp twitch where there were now four people. As it was still sunny I decided to put in a bit of time for a second viewing but shortly afterwards the sun went it and it suddenly started to look rather late in the day so I headed back to the car and set off for home.

Helice form of Clouded Yellow

Back at base I met up with my happy guests who'd had a lovely day at St Ives and then at Cape Cornwall. In fact they were going  to head back to St Ives for dinner and asked if I wanted to come along. However I was feeling rather tired by now and had a number of chores to do at the cottage. In truth I was actually thinking of heading back home again tomorrow and wanted to get ready to depart. The lack of good birdage and the fact that I was coming back again en famille in a little over a week for the half term holiday meant that there seemed little point in hanging around when the birding was so slow. Anyway, that was my current intention but let's see what tomorrow brings.

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