Monday, 24 September 2007

8th-21st September 2007

A well-deserved 2 week holiday to St. Ives, Cornwall turned up a number of interesting things in between basking on the beach and licking ice-creams.

Atlantic Grey Seal, St. Ives Harbour
The weather for the first was mostly fine and dry with not much in the way of the wind from any direction which was excellent for sitting on the beach and apparently for Basking Sharks (100+ reported in Sennen Cove), but with my usual luck I didn't manage to see one all holiday despite numerous visits to Sennen, Lands End, Porthgwarra, Porthcurno and Pendeen.....I think I was the only person in Cornwall not to see one!!!! The only shark I did manage to see was a dead (mutilated) Blue Shark in St. Ives Harbour, a victim of fishing nets I suspect. Harbour Porpoise, Common and Bottle-nosed Dolphin and an Ocean Sunfish were also seen off Lands End.
Remains of a Blue Shark (Head and fin) in St. Ives Harbour

I managed to catch up with a Wryneck at the bottom of the Naquidno Valley and found a second about 2 miles further on near Cot Valley (as I walked the coast path looking for Basking Sharks!) and managed a poor record shot.

Wryneck nr Cot Valley Sat 15th Sept

Ravens and Choughs were much in evidence with both seen between Sennen Cove and Lands End, Nanquidno and Porthgwarra. Peregrines also appeared everywhere including over St. Ives Harbour! The wind picked up in the 2nd week and with came some interesting seawatching. Tuesday 18th produced 1x Balearic Shearwater, 1x Arctic Skua and 200+ Manx Shearwater in an hour.

Raven and Common Buzzard disputing territories nr Cot Valley

A morning visit to Porthgwarra on Thursday 20th Sept turned up 3x Cory's Shearwaters (although very distant at 2-2.5km), 10x Sooty Shearwaters, 6x Balearic Shearwaters, 2x Manx Shearwaters(very low number!), 3x Storm Petrels, 8x Great Skuas, 2x Arctic Skuas and pairs of Raven, Chough and Peregrine.
Juvenile Peregrine (in heavy rain), Cape Cornwall

Butterflies were few and far between compared to last year. No Clouded Yellows or Hummingbird Hawkmoths, but singles of Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral on most headlands.Porthcurno. Note the large shadow in the water, a rock rather than Basking Shark, unfortunately!

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