Saturday, 11 July 2015

My Cornish Holiday (Part 6)

It was a day of sea watching at a few coves along the furthest tip of England. We weren't going to Lands End, though. We have been a couple of times before and we thought it was too touristy. Instead, we avoided it and decided to visit other places nearby.

Pendeen Watch
Our first stop was at Pendeen Watch. It was windy and the sea looked rough, perfect sea watching conditions. I got my scope into position and scanned the waves. At first it seemed devoided of life, but keeping at it, I soon noticed that this corner of the sea was alive with seabirds. The easier ones to spot were the gannets with their large white wings and bodies with black wingtips, occasionally diving like an arrow. Less obvious, yet more abundant, were the manx shearwaters. These are black above and white below with long wings. You could hardly see them over the waves which distorts everything as they constantly move up and down. A few fulmars were also soaring over the waves and a kestrel hoverd over the cliff top.

Manx Shearwater (from a long way off)
Cape Cornwall
A bit further along the coast is Cape Cornwall. After lunch in the car, we then walked up the hill with a chimney stack on top (at least that is what I think it is). We almost stepped on this shiny green beetle as we climbed our way to the top. I now know that it was a rose chafer. Then we noticed something in the sea. These turned out to be several grey seals bobbing their heads out of the water, allowing the waves to submerge them for seconds at a time.

Rose Chafer
Grey Seal
More seals
At the top of Cape Cornwall
From the top, I could see more manx shearwaters. These birds spend the day out at sea and by night, they return to the chick in their burrows. The nest site for these shearwaters is on the Scilly Isles. This is just a short flight for these birds. In the winter they will cross the ocean to South America and will travel this journey many times in their long lived lives, a equivalent distance of travelling to the moon and back several times! I can also see rafts of hundreds of guillemots in the far distance, as well as many gannets and a couple more seals close to the shore.
Guillemots (from a very long distance)
Grey Seal enjoying the surf
Herring Gulls

Our final stop was at Porthgwarra. Here, we watched two swimmers in the sea with a couple of seals watching a few feet away!

Seal watching a pair of swimmers


  1. Looks like you all had a brilliant holiday Sean. Lots of great pics there taken in good weather. We've just had a week on Orkney which was a little bit cooler!

  2. What a great holiday! Loved the rockpooling ... very jealous!