We had a fantastic day of two halves today with the Larkin family on the north coast during the morning, then a quick drive over to Kynance on the Lizard to meet the Cowing family.
We met Andrew with his wife and two boys at North Cliffs for a few hours birdwatching along the coastal path to Godrevy. The weather was superb, albeit a little bit cool in the north-easterly wind and there was a real spring feel in the air. Almost as soon as we got onto the coastal path a male Peregrine appeared from the cliffs at head height and soared up to meet a larger female above us! Corvids were abundant with Ravens, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow on the cliff tops and we scoped nesting Fulmars below us. The gorse is now in full flower making Linnets, Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and Dunnocks easier to pick up singing from vantage points. A couple of Skylarks chased each other around an adjoining field before flying up high to sing. Small parties of Swallows were seen heading north and two Sand Martins joined one of the groups. A Swallow’s alarm call alerted us to a small bird of prey that turned out to be a female Merlin. Commoner seabirds like Gannet, Shag and Cormorant were also noted along with resident Herring, Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. After spending a while watching the seal colony we headed back to the car park. An Adder crossed our path, climbed into a crevice on a stone wall and sat watching us, watching it. The highlight of the day for the boys!
After lunch on the move, we met up with Matt and Emily Cowing and their three children at Kynance on The Lizard. The scenery here is equally as stunning as the north coast and it is worth a visit just to admire the cliffs and rocks around the cove. The area was very busy with tourists and to be honest, birding was quite hard. But getting away from the madding crowds and into the small valley north of the cove paid dividends. The area is sheltered and has higher foliage, creating a little oasis in the moorland habitat. Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Linnet and Chaffinch were all singing and a male Bullfinch called but wasn’t seen. Three Buzzards circled overhead and close views kept the kids entertained. Spot the Skylark is always a popular game, first to spot the singing ‘dot’ in the sky wins! Winner gets extra ice cream sprinkles according to Mum, however, Paul spots first an is rewarded with a coffee and scone at the café. 🙂
Other birds seen include nesting Shag and Herring Gull, Gannet, Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Meadow and Rock pipit, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Wren. Disappointingly we did not see any Dartford Warblers at either site. This may be due to the amount of people around at the time, so hopefully they are still in the area and were just ‘laying low’.
Both parties really enjoyed their time with us and we hope to see them again when they visit Cornwall. The Larkin’s are already enquiring about a day trip to Scilly!
Paul Freestone April 2019 (c) Cornwall Birdwatching Tours