Sunday 18 March 2018

A Trip to St.Ives in Cornwall

Thursday 15th March and an early start saw us heading down to Penzance on the train with clear skies and sunshine all the way. Arriving in Penzance at just after 9am and I headed off towards Newlyn while David wandered around the town.

On the walk to Newlyn a quick look off Jubilee Pool and there were 50+ sanderling and 17 purple sandpipers roosting on the rocks with turnstones while a quick wander around Morab Gardens revealed 2 singing blackcaps and a singing chiffchaff.

Grey Squirrel, Morab Gardens, Penzance

Off Tolcarne Beach 2 winter plumaged bar tailed godwits were feeding on the sandy shoreline and a 1st winter Mediterranean gull was roosting on the rocks amongst the black headed gulls. At Newlyn Harbour the usual gulls were loafing about but I couldn't find any white wingers although there were a few adult lesser black backed gull amongst the usual herring gulls and great black backed gulls and the usual tame turnstones were pottering about the quayside.

 Bar-tailed Godwit, Tolcarne Beach, Penzance

Turnstone, Newlyn

I walked out to the end of the harbour wall and scanned offshore, picking up at least 4 grey seals poking their heads out of the water and a very smart looking 1st winter Iceland gull resting on the water while further out 3 great northern divers were resting together with a smaller diver species further out again but too distant to pick up any great detail.

 Iceland Gull, Newlyn

Iceland Gull

After meeting David at Wetherspoons for a quick beer we headed back to the train station and caught the train to Hayle but just as we alighted off the train it began to rain and so our walk along the estuary to St.Erth railway station was a wet affair with just wigeon, teal, grey plover and bar tailed godwit to show for our efforts - more annoyingly the rain had stopped by the time we arrived at the station! We caught the train to St.Ives and from the train I saw a redhead goosander along the estuary while enjoying the stunning views and on arriving at St.Ives the rain began to fall again.

After checking into the hotel we had a quick walk around St.Ives in the rain where more tame turnstones were running around the harbourside while just offshore I had some nice views of 2 winter plumaged red throated divers. Gannets were flying around offshore and diving for fish and I had a brief view of at least 2 common dolphins underneath them. Also seen were 3 Sandwich terns roosting on buoys and diving for fish before they all flew off towards Hayle.

 Herring Gull from the Hotel Window, St.Ives

 Turnstone, St.Ives

 Red Throated Diver, St.Ives

Rainbow View from the Hotel Window, St.Ives

The following day was glorious with sunshine and warm temperatures and wandering about St.Ives I watched at least 6 Sandwich terns flying around offshore with just a few gannets, the odd grey seal poking its head out of the water and just 1 red throated diver. The harbourside turnstones were fun to watch and they gave some great views and it was interesting to watch a carrion crow pick cockles out of the sand and smash them open by dropping them on the nearby concrete steps.

 Turnstone, St.Ives

 Grey Seal, St.Ives

 Cockle Smashing Carrion Crow, St.Ives

Red Throated Diver, St.Ives

We had lunch overlooking Porthminster Beach and it was lovely to watch Sandwich terns and gannets diving very close to shore while the red throated diver busily preened itself on the water before it was time to catch the train back to Plymouth - a great break away and needed after the recent stresses and strains.

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