Waterside wildlife

Well, I didn’t make it to St Anthony’s Head this week, but I did manage to get to Porthcurnick and walk along the coastal path to Curgurrell. It started off well as on the way there, just along our lane, I stopped to watch a kestrel hovering over the cornfield – it dived and managed to grab hold of something – I couldn’t see what,  probably a field mouse.

Further west in Cornwall, basking sharks have now been seen for the first time this season, but despite keeping my eyes peeled, the largest creatures I saw were a couple of grey seals sunbathing on the rocks just off Curgurrell beach.

There was, however, plenty of birdlife to watch, first I spotted a large number of cormorants just off the coast and then further along the rocks were a pair  of shags. It’s easier to tell the difference between them in the spring, as the cormorants have a white marking on their face and thighs at this time of year.

A bit further along the coastal path I came accross five oystercatchers, with their orange/red beaks and pink/red legs they are easy, even for amateur birdwatcher like me, to distinguish. They were on the rocks no doubt searching for mussels.

There were plenty of herring gulls around too – I saw more checking out the holidaymakers picnics on Porthcurnick beach than there were fishing on the sea!

As I walked back up the field to the carpark a pair of pied wagtails, with their bobbing tails, were on the grass, feeding on flies and other insects.

I returned home quite pleased with my afternoon’s viewing, but things got better the following day when I went down to Turnaware.  Late last autumn I had seen a pair of red breasted mergansers- although then I had to wait until I got home to check the bird book to properly identify them. This time I recognised them, they have a wispy crest, a very thin red bill, the male has a dark green head, white collar, grey and white body and a spotted chestnust breast. There were two pairs of them on the rocks opposite the creek.

Good news as well, the young male swan seems to have found a mate, he has had company every day this week so fingers crossed she sticks with him.

More news next week from me on whatever I see in my travels.