Back again to Porthgwarra (7.30 – 10.00), where the wind was still fairly strong but had shifted slightly towards the South-east. The rain which greeted me yesterday afternoon had subsided to a much more pleasant dry sunshine. Best plan was again to walk a little way uphill to find the shelter of rocks, and seawatch for an hour or two on the lee side.
The most obvious passage birds were again numerous Gannets, many passing very close in to the shore. Following a pair of early shearwaters, which could not be clearly identified, a slow but steady stream of interesting birds went by. 3 Balearic Shearwaters prefaced 3 later Manx Shearwaters (both species passing as a pair and then a single bird). One of the 6 Arctic Skuas had the tables turned, since an obviously larger Great Black-backed Gull harried it for some time. The separate Great Skuas had a much easier time of their flypast.
There were also a few interesting
incidents. 3 Pied Wagtails heading directly out to sea looked a little strange,
but they were presumably migrating southwards for the continent. A flurry of
some of the local Feral Pigeons was enough to see a large female Sparrowhawk
scattering them just behind my clifftop perch. The best encounter was a pair of
noisy Choughs only a few metres over my head, with a third bird landing a short
distance from me briefly. After their first tentative return around a decade
ago, seeing these slender corvids is
not the surprise it once was, although they are apparently yet to breed around
Last good bird of the trip was a very confiding Snow Bunting. I had aimed for and achieved locating Nanquidno, since it had been the spot for a few bits and bobs over the last week, including Siberian Stonechat, Firecrest and Lapland Buntings. A few birders were already present, and reported no joy this morning. The area might well have been worth more coverage, until I was told by one person of a very tame Snow Bunting a mere stone’s throw from my overnight gaff at Penzance. After parking the car on the seaward side of Newlyn, the cycle track where the bird was purported to reside was quickly found. A mere 5 minutes walk along this track, and the bird was summarily found, happily feeding on a small patch of man made shingle adjacent to the tarmac of the track. It was quite happy to pose this way and that before an approaching walker seemed for some reason to dish out concern, and it flew a short way along the coastal rocks.