The forecast was for the weather to improve into a fine and sunny day (wow!) so we decided to take in a cliff top walk around the old tin mines, famous for being used in the Poldark TV series, at Botallack just a few miles down the road. This part of Cornwall is very popular with tourists (because of that TV series) so can get busy,, in relative terms of course. I resisted, thankfully I hear you all say, stripping off to the waist and gazing longingly out to sea as per Ross Poldark himself, but stared just as eagerly into every bush, patch of gorse and tree instead. Rough weather can bring scarce and rare birds into this part of the world but, as my regular reader will know, the chances of me actually finding any are extremely slim (I did find a Wryneck here once, just once). The weather hadn't quite settled yet and there was still rain on the air so Mrs Caley and I did have the area to ourselves for a while longer at least.
It was evident that there had been a minor "fall" of thrushes and chats to the scrubby area at the cliff edge and many Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Robins were evident, many using the puddles left over by the storm to wash and brush up. The migration of birds is a subject that (mildly) fascinates me and I never cease to marvel at how birds that weigh less than the filling of a Cornish pasty can survive on such long journeys. If there are a lot of common birds around then there's always a good chance that something less common may be around too. Except you know the answer that question already!
|"Not today, thank you!"|
|Breakfast, Kestrel style|
Without us even noticing, the sky had metamorphosed into a brilliant blue and there was barely a cloud! Good things come to those that wait. With the warmer and more settled air came the rest of the avian predators. We spotted a pair of Raven drifting toward us bound for the same pile of rubble and stone that the Kestrels had just vacated. One of the Ravens passed very closely and appeared to have its own take away breakfast, not sure what it may have been but the Raven looked fairly satisfied.
|Raven with breakfast|
The pair of Ravens were joined by a third bird which had a look of freshness about it so I assumed it must be a juvenile bird. The younger bird decided it would be good fun to circle low over our heads a couple of times seemingly as interested in us as we were of it. I'm not sure what I said to upset it but we were lucky to only just avoid wearing a deposit of the stinky kind!
The next birds to check us out were a couple of the "Cornish" Choughs. The Cornish folk have become so enamoured with their local Choughs that they've adopted them as their own. These most acrobatic of our corvid species were as vociferous as ever as they enjoyed, as they always seem to do, flying in the updrafts at the cliff edge. Mrs Caley loves Choughs but despite that outpouring of affection she couldn't woo them in close enough for my liking and for the lens to reach them adequately.
The bird that I wanted to see and to hopefully get a decent photo of was the Peregrine Falcon. We had seen one earlier fly south but far out to sea and now I had spotted one soaring above Kenidjack Castle (a ruin stuck out on a headland above the valley). I watched the raptor just hanging on the breeze as it surveyed the ground below for a good five minutes or so hoping that it would come a bit (a lot actually) closer so that I could get that photo but the Peregrine was having none of it. Then it drifted slowly northwards without coming any closer before plunging steeply down until lost below the cliffs. I wondered what unfortunate bird had probably succumbed to the supreme predator.
|Peregrine on the attack|
After the wild conditions of the previous day it was good to be working the valley in more sublime weather, at least now we'd have a chance of seeing some birds in the trees. A Grey Wagtail looked rather incongruous perched in a roadside tree and a young Kestrel, a bird that we'd become used to seeing through the following week, stood sentinel on a tree stump, totally unfazed by anybody that walked past.
|Buzzard & Chough|