Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Cornwall - 28th February - 2nd March

We have not visited our cottage at Trowan, located on the coast between St.Ives and Zennor, for several months now so we were looking forward to a break in the west. I was not planning on doing a great deal of birding due to both Sarah and I needing some RnR time, the plan was to potter. Nonetheless, there were a few goodies around and I couldn't resist sneak peaking them. 

The Saturday was set-aside for relaxing and we had a pleasant morning walk with our friends Nigel Wheatley and Alice and their young sons Ned and Tom down Cot Valley. Catching up took precedent over birding but we did see a Chough over the valley and great views of around five Bottle-nosed Dolphin feeding at the mouth of the valley and around the Brison's. One animal was a particularly large male and it showed well, even breaching clear of the water at one point - unfortunately I had left my camera in the car. The rest of the day was spent lunching and pottering in St. Ives before heading back to the cottage to watch a little of the 6-Nations.

On the Sunday we planned to take Tobias to the Eden Project but the Maenporth King Eider was deemed by me to be 'on the way'. We stopped at the cove at around 10:30 and Tobias and Sarah pottered on the beach while I dashed up the coast path to the south of the cove. After a bit of scanning I eventually picked up the King Eider rather distantly offshore accompanied by a female Eider. I spent around 20 minutes squinting into the distance making out the key features, orange bill and pale breast, took a few crap shots and then headed off content that my views would get no better. A pair of Peregrine showed well on the cliff face near to my vantage point and Fulmar gargled and spluttered from the cliffs nearby. We headed to the Eden Project and spent the rest of the day here, the only birds seen were Yellow White-eye and Crested Partridge, definitely not tickable through!

King Eider - First winter male of Maenporth, Falmouth

On Monday we had to head back to Hampshire so I decided to get up early and do a little birding before a day on the road. I decided that in the blasting north-westerly the Penzance area would be the best bet for some shelter so I started at the marina scanning for seaduck and diver. There were at least five Great-northern Diver visible rather distantly offshore and amongst these a Black-throated type, I  could see no white flank patch and could vaguely make out (or imagine!) a dark throat necklace and decided that it was most likely the Pacific Diver that was wintering - not the best of views and perhaps a little inconclusive! Also offshore were two Common Scoter and a female Eider but viewing conditions were difficult in the wind. I spent some time around Newlyn Harbour and Marazion seeing little of note and decided to head a little inland for the Little Bunting at Gulval, just to the north of Penzance. I parked the car, walked a short distance up the footpath and before too long connected with the bird in a Blackthorn hedge. The bird was in the company of Chaffinch's and they had clearly found a nice, food rich weedy patch alongside a Cauliflower field to feed. I spent around 15 minutes with the bird during which time it called frequently. And that was it, I had to head back to the cottage, load the car and head back home. Not bad for only around three hours in the field over the weekend.

Little Bunting - Gulval, Penzance