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Day 5 (Thursday, 7th October)

Where? The message came out mid afternoon the previous day that a Green Heron had been found at this mysterious place. Erroneously placed as SSW of Mevagissey by Rare Bird Alert, I headed for the area after drinking in close views of the Spotted Sandpiper at Exminster, and located the spot NNW of Mevagissey. It was as I suspected – a tourist gardens with padded entry fee (£10) and a late opening time (10am). Another worry was that the bird had been reported as seen from a hide – I could only imagine how many irrational twitchers would be lining up and jostling for pole position.

On the bright side, the late opening of the gardens allowed for a laid back breakfast at a nice B&B in Mevagissey. I eventually rolled up to the car park of the gardens at 9.15. What I couldn’t comprehend was the empty car park – no massed twitch here then! I was also second in line at the entrance gate. The gardens summarily, and pompously, opened the gates at 10am prompt, with still only about a dozen birders to show. However, the good news was that the staff had already located the Yankee wanderer, and a BBC wildlife crew was now on the filming job. The pond hosting the heron was a tortuous trek through the gardens, and the hide more of a gypsy caravan with shutters! It took some time for the Green Heron to be even glimpsed – I ticked a bottle green and rufous head and neck initially, since it steadfastly refused to come out of its cover alongside a narrow part of the pool.

Eventually, the throng of 50 or so – still not a mass twitch by any standards -  nervously moved as one to the more open part of the pond, where the bird could be seen in the open from the aforementioned hide. It took up residence on a bare branch, showing a more adept skill at talking large dragonflies from the air than fish from the water. Final view before I left the gardens (some 4 hours after entering them) was a much closer bird from the path alongside the pool.

Heligan

Green heron

The pool in "The Jungle" at the Lost Gardens of Heligan

Green Heron

This is probably now one of the premium seawatching sites in the country, harvesting huge numbers of impressive seabirds at its height. This usually goes alongside a planned visit with appropriate winds at the correct time of year. I probably had the latter in place, but the former was in the lap of the gods. The location is terrific – a small village in a valley surrounded by low cliffs jutting into the last vestiges of the western English Channel. The brilliant sunshine of the morning had plunged into a wet gale on arrival – with decent south-westerlies forcing the showers almost horizontal. However, a short walk along the coastal path found a natural respite from the wind, and the rain had by now ceased. My vantage point looked down on the sea, and had a wide field of view. I spent almost 2 solitary hours in this spot, and turned up 4 Balearic Shearwaters and 2 Arctic Skuas during this time. Main passage was of Gannets, and smaller numbers of Kittiwakes.  A handful of auks looked most likely to be Razorbills.

Village

Cliffs

Porthgwarra village

Porthgwarra cliffs

Home

Paintings gallery

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Introduction

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

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