Sunday, 14 February 2016

Saturday 13th February - Back Down

Astute readers will have noticed that despite my last post saying that I was coming back a week later at the end of October there has been a suspicious lack of any posts here. The reason was that I had back problems and also my VLW wasn't well so we decided to forego our traditional October half term trip down here. We were also thinking about coming down to see the New Year in but once again illness thwarted our plans so it's not until now during the February half term that finally I am back in my beloved Cornwall. Traditionally we come down at this time to see how well the cottage is coping with the winter storms so far and to start to put things right in preparation for the coming letting season and this was out plan this time as well. As well as myself and my VLW, our nine year old son L was to accompany us on this trip down though our two grown-up daughters had other plans.

We set off at the reasonably leisurely time of 11:30 a.m and stopped en route just for fuel and sandwiches and in the end the journey was uneventful and the traffic wasn't too bad. When we arrived at Hayle we stopped off at M&S so that I could make yet another attempt at finding a hat in which I didn't look quite so ridiculous. I'm the first to admit that I'm really not a hat person. I tend to look terrible in all hats that I wear but I do find them useful in that they keep my head warm and dry so I soldier on regardless and just have to accept looking like an idiot. A few years ago I found a nice winter hat with ear flaps (see my profile photo) which I was told I didn't look too bad in and which was nice and warm though sadly I lost this when I twitched the Greater Yellowlegs at Titchfield Haven last year so I wanted to find a replacement. It turned out that they no longer made this model and their new ear flap hat looked depressingly terrible on me so in the end I opted for a sort of waterproof flat cap type of thing which my VLW tells me makes me look like a farmer. For me, that's actually quite a compliment as far as hat wearing goes!

Anyway, we arrived at Penzance at around 4 p.m. and headed to Sainsbury's café for some tea. As I stared out over Mounts Bay I reflected that somewhere out there were at least three Glaucous Gulls, a Ring-billed Gull (which seems to spend the day near Trennack Farm near Sancreed), the usual over-wintering Pacific Diver, and best of all, a juvenile American Herring Gull, the latter being the bird that I'd most like to see whilst I'm down here. Realistically though, it's probably the one I'm least likely to catch up with as it had only been seen three times to my knowledge (twice at roost) and had no pattern to it at all. Still the other birds would be nice to see. Also on my target list was the over-wintering Hudsonian Whimbrel over on the other side of the Bay. Indeed up until last year this would have been a lifer about which I would be salivating profously though the Pagham bird last year had relegated this now to just a prospective Cornish tick. Still all these birds at least gave me something to work on whilst I was down here. In fact the list was none too shabby at all, given that it was February.

After our tea, we did a shop and then headed over to the cottage to boot things up. We spent some time surveying the damp patches and deciding what needed painting before having something to eat and then settling down to watch an episode of Poldark on DVD (playing "name that location" at each new scene). At just after 10 p.m. we all decided to crash out and hit out beds for an early night.

Don't expect too many Moth du Jour posts on this trip. However I found this Agonopterix heracliana over-wintering in the cottage.

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