Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cornish holiday - further adventures on the South West Coast Path

Here's my final post about my recent Cornish holiday in and around the Lizard peninsula. We were there a week and visited many and varied places, but only the most nature-related material will appear here!

Chris wanted to spend one day chilling out in the cottage and doing a bit of work(!). I can't get my head around bringing work on holiday but he said he'd only brought reading and writing that he'd enjoy doing, and that it was like a writing retreat to do it in such pleasant surroundings. Perhaps I'll understand better if/when I ever get a job I actually enjoy! Anyway, I didn't want to miss any opportunity to spend as much time as possible outdoors, especially as the weather was so good, so I set out on my own from the cottage to the South West Coast Path. Instead of going north as we had previously, I planned to go south instead and see how far I could get, and what I could spot along the way. Although I love walking with Chris, and indeed other people too, I also like going out on my own sometimes - I like to stop and look at birds, plants, rocks and butterflies but Chris likes to keep moving, so I was looking forward to taking my own good mystical time on this walk. Hence, this is going to be a very photo-heavy blog post!

I first walked to Chynhalls Point, which we had briefly visited previously, but I wanted to spend more time there investigating the flowers.

Chynhalls Point.
These two were new to me:

This lovely flower was EVERYWHERE! I believe it is Spring Squill (Scilla verna).
Fuzzy flowers are always nice. Kidney Vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria).
Common Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris) was not new to me, but I had never seen it in so many different colours before! I decided to try and photograph them all using my field lens and smartphone camera combo, for some super macro fun:

Blue Common Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris).
Dark pink Common Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris).
Purple Common Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris).
Light pink Common Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris).
For some reason I get that weird lens flare sometimes when taking photos through my field lens, will keep experimenting to see if I can prevent it.

While I bumbled happily around Chynhalls Point I was observed by a pair of Stonechats. Also there, and indeed all along my walk, I saw Wall many Wall butterflies! They were the most numerous butterfly species I saw on the holiday which was something of a marvel to me, having only previously seen one in my life (they are pretty much absent from Birmingham to my knowledge!). As I made my way south along the cliffs I also added Small Copper and Holly Blue to my list.

Wall (Lasiommata megera).
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus).
I walked as far as Ebber Rocks before heading back to the cottage, still only a short distance away, for some lunch. After that I came back down to Ebber Rocks to continue where I left off!

Ebber Rocks in the centre, Chynhalls Point in the distance.
I soon reached Black Head, which as a prominent headland before the coast path turned west, I thought might be a particularly good spot to check for cetaceans and seabirds. There were Gannets aplenty out on the sea, and a bit of scanning around soon rewarded me with a small pod of Harbour Porpoises unobtrusively making their way along!

Black Head is the one with the little white hut on it.
As I continued west I seemed to be making fairly good time, so I decided to try and get as far as the headland at Lankidden before turning round. I encountered another bird that had become a special feature of the holiday (we'd seen them in two other places) - passage Whimbrels, this time a flock of eight coming in off the sea, marvellous! I also saw a Kestrel carrying a snake in its talons, wriggling furiously! And I found another new plant:

I think it is Early-purple Orchid (Orchis mascula).
Having reached the end of the (very windy) headland, I turned around to retrace my steps as far as a small inlet where I could take a path up to the farm neighbouring the one we were staying at, making a somewhat circular route. It had been another superb walk and having written about it now, I want to go on holiday again. Better get planning....

Here are a couple more views west along the coast path, and a map showing my route (more or less).

South West Coast Path looking towards Lankidden headland.

South West Coast Path looking towards Lankidden headland.

View from the South West Coast Path.
My route.

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