Saturday, 11 July 2015

My Cornish Holiday (Part 5)

Hoverfly Volucella Zonaria
As I was waiting for the next train to St Ives, I noticed a large insect hovering around a tree behind me adjacent to the platform. At first, I thought it was a hornet, but it turned out to be a hoverfly. It was the largest hoverfly I had ever seen! I believe this is the hoverfly, Volucella Zonaria, which has larvae which scavenges in wasp nests.

St Ives
St Ives was our destination on July 7th. This is a pretty, picturesque Cornish seaside town. With its palm trees, golden beaches and surrounded by turquoise sea, you could mistake this place as somewhere in the tropics, a place of paradise. But then you remind yourself that you are still in England.

Get into the town and you start to notice that a lot of the shops here offer food. From Cornish pasties, chips and icecream, you are overwhelmed by food. You're not the only one to gaze upon what edible morsel on offer here. Keep your food close and keep a watchful eye above you, there are thieves watching everywhere! St Ives is renowned for its bold, food stealing herring gulls. If you give them the opportunity, they will swoop down and take whatever is in your hands! Luckly, I was fortunate enough to eat my pasty in peace today.

Herring gulls are a big part of the seaside image. How can you not imagine the sun, sand and sea on a hot summers day without that soundtrack of calling gulls in the background?  They are intelligent opportunists and know an easy meal when they see one, even if it resorts to being a thief. But maybe that is what makes them successful urban birds. It is also this thieving nature that makes them an easy bird to get close to. They rarely seem to fly away whenever I get close for a photo. In fact they are quite tame, allowing you to appreciate every detail of them quite closely. They do look pretty if you look past their mischievious behaviour.

In the air, they are even more beautiful. Gliding in warm sunlight, they appear glowing white and grey with thier bill ablazed in yellow. If you look at something like a gull, a bird considered as vermin, and view them in a different perspective, could you learn to forgive them?

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