Saturday, 11 July 2015

My Cornish Holiday (Part 4)

Cornwall is full of natural beauty spots along its coastline. Best of them all is an area known as The Lizard. We have been to this area a few times during our past holidays to Cornwall, so it was inevitable that we should visit the area again. Though we have been to this part of the South Coast of Cornwall a few times, we have never been to Kynance Cove. It was about time we did.

Views from Kynance Cove
One of those white buildings is the cafe we were heading to
Kynance Cove is a lovely place with nice beaches surrounded by tropical-looking sea. The cliff tops were covered in beautiful plantlife. Most of it was thrift and trefoil that filled the windswept landscape in patches of pink and yellow. There were other flowers like bloody cranesbill, betony, dropwort, bell heather and yarrow here too. Stonechats were flitting about in the short bushes and what I believe was a rock pipit was singing in flight displays as he parachuted back down to earth.
Bloody Cranesbill
Bell Heather
Female Stonechat

There are two ways to get down to the beach. You can either take a long winding path down to the cafe or take the stairs straight down to the beach. We took the latter which proved to be a risky choice as the steps were steep and loose gravel made them a bit slippy. It was the rope bridge at Heligan all over again for me as I steadied my balance and nerves as I made my way down. Once down, I could relax and admire the rock formations and walk along the beautiful soft sand. There were a few small caves to explore too. I watched fulmars soar around the cliff faces to their nest sites and oystercatches were flying over the turquoise coloured sea.
Rock Samphire
Cuttlefish bone
Looking out to sea
One of the caves to explore

After walking back up via the long winding path (which was a lot easier than the steps), we arrived back at the car and took a short drive to Lizard Point. I was hoping to see choughs here. Choughs are black crows with red legs and bill which is curved. They are a rare bird which can only be seen along the western coast line of the UK and was once extinct here in Cornwall. In 2001, a few choughs began to recolonise The Lizard area. During my previous visit here in 2009, I actually got to see one. Today though, according to the volunteer managing the Chough Watchpoint building, they have moved about half a mile down the coast. I didn't get to see one this time round, but that didn't stop Mum from buying me a chough fridge magnet to rub it in.
Lizard Point

Rock Pipit
No choughs, but I did get to see a couple of seals, some gannets, cormorants and shags. There were a few rock pipits displaying and singing below on the rocky beach. The rock pipits totally made up for the lack of choughs as I am not sure if I have seen one before and was convinced it was a rock pipit and not a meadow pipit. Rock pipits look similar to meadow pipits, but are darker with black legs. With pipits, the clue in their name should help you identify them. Rock pipits are found at rocky coastlines, tree pipits are found in open areas in woodlands, etc. However, meadow pipits can live anywhere and they cause the most confusion. The song wins me over towards rock pipit in the end. Hearing their song grow louder and louder with the speed and pitch increasing with each note until it fades to an unaudible range. 'Ze ze ze zee zee zee zeee zeee ze ze'. A truly wonderful sound!
Grey Seal
A Carrion Crow that I thought was a juvenile Chough at first
Hottentot Fig

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