With a vague hint of sunshine and no gale this morning I headed just around the corner to visit the National Dahlia Collection just north of Long Rock. Row after row of blooms glowed in the early light and a pleasant hour was spent wandering the isles and marvelling at the variety of shapes, sizes and colours. My maternal grandad used to grow them in his East Ham garden and for a few years after I moved in there, I too gave them a go. Perhaps it's time to try them again.
A flock of Mistle Thrushes and two Redwing both became new for the trip and a few bumbles attended the flowers. There were certainly Bombus terrestris and what I am pretty sure were Bombus muscorum.
|Pollenia Hide and Seek|
A circuitous route then took us back to the coast where a drop into Nanquidno revealed a surprise mini-crowd and the dinky little Red-breasted Flycatcher they were watching. It was calling frequently which made tracking it easier but other than a Firecrest it was still quiet down there.
|This was a picture that I 'saw' but never took at Nanquidno - I even pictured it mono. My friend Richard Moorhead was there the previous day and envisaged the same shot and thus here it is...|
Lunch at Porthqwarra was again Vireoless but I did encounter Messers Monkey, Lawson and Croft (not a small firm of Solicitors) which was a pleasant surprise and a Spotted Flycatcher became my latest ever.
|Eristalis nemorum - I reckon|
The evening was spent at Pendeen looking into the now howling wind where the rescue helicopter was searching the raging turmoil below for someone. Locals suggested that it would be a foolish landbased fisherman...again. They spent the next half hour hovering over the area and dropped down to about 30m to let a crew member bravely out on a line. They seemed to be using him to check the rock and surf but eventually they gave up, winched him in before circling for home.
A lone Pink-footed Goose at Morvah and two cattle loving Little Egrets rounded up proceedings as the cloudbase dropped and drizzle descended.
|Pink Footed Goose at Morvah|
Rain in all its many guises was the order of today. It did not stop, only changed in the magnitude of the deluge, strength of the wind and size of rain drops (mizzle through to machine gun). A visit to Falmouth added a new Trago Mills to the list but no wondrous views across the Fal and lunch at Devoran gave me another low tide expanse of birdless mud to squint at out of the window.
|The Fal from Trago's|
|Devoran - now you don't see it|
|Devoran - now you don't see it even more|
Apologies if I sound a little frustrated but it was really starting to wear me down. I came back to Penzance via the windswept St Agnes - Portreath coast road where the surf was most definitely up before a recuperative cup of tea and then fine fish 'n' chips from Lil's in Pendeen overlooking a sullen leaden sky and restless sea.
Time to head for home but there was still time for a last visit to Porthgwarra after packing up the car as it was still dry and calm. There were more Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests in the valley and even a Blackcap (whooo hooo) and a Lesser Whitethroat was also heard but the pesky Vireo was doing its very best to thwart my every effort to see it and I missed it three time by just a few seconds. With five minutes left of my two hours I turned to walk back to the car but glanced round and saw a dozen pairs bins suddenly lift. I scurried (nay, ran) back to the group to glean a three second view of the nemesis of my entire week galumphing through the willows flashing olive back, blue grey crown and silky white underparts. I said a second lot of farewells to the group and called it a day.
|This wondrous Great Black Slug showed better than the Vireo...|
After lunch in Pendeen we hit Penzance at 1pm and I psyched myself up for a mammoth journey home in terrible conditions but despite the driving rain and poor visibility, a 45 minute stop at the Ottery nurseries and some seriously scary M3 and M25 driving, we were home in under six hours. I kept checking my watch for some time anomaly but it really did happen like that. A perversely pleasing end to a much needed but frustrating week away.
|A final Pendeen before heading off...|