Sunday, 14 August 2016

Saturday 12th August - Coming Down

At last I'm back down in my beloved Cornwall. It's been far too long but a combination of work commitments and the fact that the cottage has been fully booked all summer has meant that it's only now that we are able to get back down here for a week of family holiday.

In order to beat the usual holiday traffic we made a concerted effort to leave early and actually managed to depart at 8 a.m. - not bad considering the amount of inertia there is with a family of five. There was a modest amount of stoppage around the M4/M5 junction and down to Exeter but nothing too serious until we hit the road works on the A30 where everything ground to a complete standstill. It took the best part of an hour finally to get back to a decent bit of movement again though fortunately there was a good comedy programme on Radio 4 to keep us occupied and morale in the car was remarkably good. By way of something to do en route my VLW suggested that we stopped off at Truro as we'd never actually explored the city before. This seemed like an excellent plan to me as it was only a short hop from there down to Restronguet Creek where the long-staying Dalmation Pelican has now taken up residence - a bird that I'd yet to catch up with even after all this time. So I dropped off the rest of the family in the city centre and I then headed off on the short distance to Point, finally negotiating the narrow lanes that lead up to Point Quay. The Pelican had actually been reported a couple of times already today so I was cautiously optimistic though I did know that the bird was prone to disappearing for a while so it was by no means a sure thing.

I arrived to find a number of kids splashing around in the water in their wet suits and a few people sitting around and enjoying the sunshine. It was quite a picturesque spot with a wide river, boardered on the far side by woodland and with boats moored up down-stream a little way.

The view from Point Quay

A quick scan found nothing on the main island opposite me nor was there any sign of it downstream. Eventually I picked it out sitting on a large tree stump directly opposite me on the far side of the river though I could see a couple of people in a rowing boat drawing near, clearly intent on taking a closer look. Before I could even get my scope out the Pelican decided that the rowers had got too close and took to the air and I could only watch as it flew down the river and headed off towards Feock. So I'd seen it and had got both land and flight views though it was a great shame that I didn't have a chance at least to take some digiscoped record shots. Whilst no doubt it would be back eventually there was no point in my hanging around so I headed back to the  car and was back at Truro less than fifteen minutes later. The rest of the family were just finishing off a bit of shopping and decided that they'd seen enough for now so I picked them up and we headed back off on the route for the Penwith peninsula.

A fantastic photo of the bird taken by Mike Tout (c)

The rest of the journey was thankfully uneventful and we arrived at Penzance at around 3:30 pm. First stop was the Sainsbury's cafĂ© for tea and cake before getting some shopping in for our stay, then it was down to the cottage to open it up and get settled in. Fortunately the weather had turned from rather cloudy into full-on sunshine and there was hardly a breath of wind - it was absolutely gorgeous! After another cup of tea sitting out in the garden we headed down to the lighthouse to wander about a bit and to stare at the sea. I spotted a few Manxies going by, heard at least one calling Chough and spent some time admiring the flowers though many of them had gone over already and everything was looking rather dry and a bit "tired". We spotted a seal briefly down by the rocks though it didn't linger. Then it was back to the cottage for some food and a chance to relax. 

It was good to see the lighthouse again
Once it got dark I set up the moth trap for the evening and we did a bit of star-gazing to see if we could see any of the Perseid metoer shower which is supposed to be particularly good this year. We spotted a few though it was too cloudy to see much - perhaps tomorrow will be better. We were all rather tired after our journey and soon settled down for the night. It was good to be back!

Knot Grass Caterpillar found by one of my daughters down by the lighthouse

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