Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Basking in the Sun (3rd June)

Yet again the sea-watch down at the Lizard started with a bang!  I was watching a nice flock of Manx Shearwaters, passing relatively close to the headland, when totally unexpectedly the characteristic dorsal and caudal fin of a BASKING SHARK suddenly broke the surface of the water!!!  I could barely believe it but thankfully it remained up for a couple seconds as it twisted gradually in the water before submerging.  Unfortunately, it did not reappear but all the same a brilliant start to the day!  Besides the shark, there was little of note and despite the winds diverting to an onshore northerly direction, increasing the chances of closer views of passage seabirds, I wondered off in search of Choughs and Adders once again.  From the coastal path I connected with the usual Raven, and the newly paired Choughs.  Apparently, the male offspring from the original pair has killed the older original pairs male!  This has come as a particular shock to Zak as it represented 20% of his sample population that he is currently studying down on the Lizard!  Thankfully, as the newly paired male is a close relative he has adopted the 2 chicks which will hopefully remain unaffected by the change in partnership.

Chough at the southerly point

Moving on around the coastal footpath other species of note included a Buzzard (my first at the site in the past week of watching it), an Oak Eggar moth caterpillar and 4 Grey Seals basking on the rocks and wailing.  Also rather unexpected where a flock of c.40 Common Scoters passing the headland  westwards and a regular trickle of Guillemots passing through the area.

views from St Michaels Mount!

For the second part of the day, I took the train to Penzance, the bus to Marazion and finally the boat over to St Michaels Mount where my friends and I had planned a day out.  As the train pulled into Perranwell, I saw my first Orangetip of the year from the train window.  I didn't get much time for birding but I squeezed in a quick visit to Marazion Marsh in the hope of connecting with the long-staying Purple Heron.  An hours frantic running around the place was unsurprisingly fruitless but I did find 2 Wheatear, 2 singing Cetti's Warblers (one individual showing relatively well), and a mixed flock of Sanderling and Dunlin numbering around 70birds.  Ringed Plover and Sandwich Terns fishing offshore were also of note as well as a single Curlew and 4 Whimbrel in flight over the beach.

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