Sunday, 11 October 2020

Cornish Choughs on Newquay headland. 10th Oct 2020.

 


I'd heard on Facebook that there had been some Choughs around the Newquay area... they are gradually spreading up the North coast having initially bred down on the Lizard.

So I popped out to east Pentire headland between Fistral beach & the Gannel at Crantock and lo and behold there were 6 Choughs feeding on the short cropped grasses on the clifftop.

They were concentrating on feeding & oblivious to all around them. Peoples dogs bounding around & holidaymakers taking pics of the view & selfies with the waves in the background etc.

Always exciting for a Cornishman to see our "National" bird, but to see 6 together... Wow!

Anyway here are a few photos....












Cornish Grey Seals at Polzeath, 5th October 2020.

 

Juvenile Female Grey Seal


As our regular seal survey out of Padstow was postponed due to fierce North Westerly gales we still needed to complete a land survey of this part of the North Cornish coast for our annual census of seals for the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust (CSGRT).

I was asked to cover the section between Pentire Head at the mouth of the Camel estuary & Port Quin bay beneath the Lead mines car park near Polzeath.

I got lucky!

It was blowing a hooley from the NW but luckily I found some seals in the lee of the headland, 2 of which were "bottling", 1 was a large male that only surfaced a couple of times and the final one was a beautiful juvenile female that decided to haul out onto rocks just below where I was positioned on the cliff edge.

She took no notice of my presence despite a strong wind blowing in her direction and proceeded to clamber about on the rocks and attempt to go to sleep. This proved difficult as it was very awkward terrain & it was at low tide so as soon as she got comfortable the tide started to flow & eventually wash her off the rocks.

I took a few video clips and lots of photos...

Here is the link to the video on my YouTube channel.


https://youtu.be/9ias7_oizWA

Here are some of the images from my afternoon.....


Juvenile Female Grey Seal

Juvenile Female Grey Seal

Juvenile Female Grey Seal

Juvenile Female Grey Seal

Juvenile Female Grey Seal

Female Grey Seal

Female Grey Seal

Female Grey Seal

Female Grey Seal

"Bull" Male Grey Seal


Thursday, 24 September 2020

Common Dolphins, North Cornwall, Monday 21st Sept 2020.


 

A seal survey with the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust out of Padstow was truly spectacular today as a pod of Common Dolphins swam directly toward our boat, Atlantic Diver, skippered by Chris Lowe.

So not only were we treated to some good seal sightings along with a few new pups on the remote beaches, we also had some good seabirds and a few jellyfish as well.

But, there's something about dolphins that automatically throws you into a "relaxed" mode, they lolled around the bows when Chris eased off the throttle and a few of them actively tried to make eye contact with us as we peered over the bows with our cameras.

I don't know what goes through their minds but I know my mind seems to have a boost of endorphins that give me a warm glow inside.... they are such special creatures.


Here is a short video I put together from 5 separate phone clips. It's on YouTube so please come back to my blog after watching it.


https://youtu.be/Tn877uorbK8 

Here a few more photos of the dolphins.

 









 


Thursday, 17 September 2020

Ruddy Shelduck at Walmsley 15th to 17th Sept 2020.


 

An early morning text from my friend James Burke started it off.... he said he'd seen 7 unusual geese flying across Rock & into the Camel estuary.

This was echoed a short while later from another friend Jo Wilson who was on a boat moored up in the estuary. Jo said she'd seen 7 birds that she was convinced were Ruddy Shelducks... a very unusual sighting for Cornwall.

A while later she sent me a video & she was correct in her identification so I put the report out to my birder friends.

That evening the birds came into roost at our CBWPS reserve at Walmsley sanctuary.

I went to see early on the Wednesday morning and sure enough they were there but only 6 of them, where the 7th had gone I don't know.

They were still there all of Thursday even when we had a work party cutting juncus at the far end of the site.

It is thought that these birds were recently seen in Dorset & Sussex.

Where they originated from is unknown & where they are going... the same!

Anyway lets enjoy their beauty while they grace our county!

 


 





Monday, 14 September 2020

An Otter in North Cornwall today. 14th September 2020

 


I was delighted to get some shots of this otter here in North Cornwall today.

It was feeding on crabs at high tide although I'm told it has been active at various states of the tide.

I took all the shots from my kayak so the "miss" rate was pretty high! 

Battling waves from passing speedboats and a bit of a breeze I was often too close to it but it paid little attention and swam under the kayak at one stage & hauled out with food on several occasions.

I took a dunking twice this afternoon, falling over whilst getting out of the kayak at a beach & then slipping on the rocks when the otter disappeared around the corner. However the excitement of seeing this beautiful animal was worth the cut knees & elbows! 

Got to suffer for your art!

Here are a few more images.....









Thursday, 10 September 2020

Great White Egret at Trewornan & into Walmsley reserve. 8th Sept. 2020


 

This great white Egret was spending time feeding among the cattle in the fields near to Trewornan bridge, Wadebridge in the late evening.

At one stage it flew into Walmsley reserve for a while but as it got late & the light started to drop it came back out with the cattle & I managed a few flight shots and some nice close ups as it sneaked behind a bullock and then emerged really close to where I'd stood with my camera balanced on a fence post so that I could drop my shutter speed in order to lower the ISO for a better quality picture.

For those interested it was using a 500mm f4 lens on a Nikon D500, f4 at 1/80th sec under exposed by 2/3 stop at 250 ISO.

for the flight shots it was the same camera/lens combination but 1/1000th sec at f5.6 under exposed by 2/3 stop at 720 ISO.






A Cormorant fishing in the pools at Walmsley


This cormorant caught 3 fish in under 10 minutes as it dived deep into the muddy areas of the pool.

I don't recognise the species of fish but they were obviously plentiful.