Thursday, 2 June 2016

Cornwall meanderings - revising hard

Although I am back on Bardsey Island at the moment, I thought I would write a quick blog post overviewing some of the brilliant wildlife that I was delighted to experience down in Falmouth after Easter, whilst 'revising' for exams...

Living on Bardsey for the last eight years, for all its many merits, has also meant that I haven't actually managed to get to a Bluebell wood in glorious spring bloom for a very long term. It was great to remedy this whilst back in Falmouth, and spend some time exploring countless beautiful woodlands adorned with carpets of Blue and White (Bluebell & Wild Garlic)

One of the brilliant things about being spring is the complete explosion of life, particularly at the smaller scale. It made for enjoyable procrastination from revising to be able to just pop out of the door and immediately be surrounded by a plethora of life forms to discover, photograph, identify, watch...I have included a very small selection in the collage above. 
You can find many more spring insect images in my Facebook album here

At the very top of my wish-list of animals to see whilst in the county this spring was the Basking Shark. I am lucky to be a crew member of Keith Leeve's brilliant AK Wildlife Cruises business, which runs out of Falmouth for four hour-long cruises around the surrounding coast to look for all manner of life. We had some superb weather for a couple of the cruises whilst I was around, and it enabled some pretty special encounters...

Basking Shark!

We saw plenty of Harbour Porpoise too

Another particular highlight from the cruises was watching three lovely Storm Petrels pattering the surface of a small oil slick as they fed. I have never seen Stormies out at sea, so it was great to see them in their element

I couldn't believe how pristine some of the Great Northern Divers out in the bay were! These summer-plumaged beauts should be in the arctic circle!

Closer to home (term-time), and I am very lucky to be situated close to some superb habitats for my local stomping grounds. Early morning and late evening walks were a particularly pleasant experience, and yielded some rewarding sights and scenes...
Spider webs of the species Tetragnatha obtusa in the early morning light

Argal Reservoir on a stunning evening - what you can't experience in this shot is the hundreds of Swallows and tens of Martins, Swifts and Noctule bats which spent the latter hours of dusk hawking on insects above the water's surface...

Noctules were brilliant to watch on the local reservoir, especially on calm evenings when their wing beats could be heard rustling above your head and their low-frequency echolocation prominently heard

Common Swift

A good number of House Martins set about making their dry mud nests on a nearby building where I live

Getting out and about around Cornwall with friends for photography, birding and exploratory sojourns was particularly enjoyable
one of the bays at Lizard point - the UK's most southerly point

Dalmatian Pelican! A bizarre and exhilarating bird to see in such a peculiar backdrop of the Cornish countryside

Blackbird chick

Checking one of the moth traps on campus

Brimstone moth

Green-winged Orchids at Predannack Airfield

Some brilliant Bat action, taking part in Cornwall Bat Group's check of some bat boxes in the north-east of the county. Brown Long-eared Bat is pictured top and right and left images

Black Oil Beetle

A standard cargo to take to uni, right? Moth trap, fins & snorkelling gear in a basket pannier...Cornwall is a great place! 

A parting shot of two Dandelions at sunrise

This may be my last post on the blog for a little while, as I am heading to north-west Scotland on a family holiday this Saturday; from here, I am then traveling to Romania, where I will be acting as bird ringing surveyor for Operation Wallacea on their expedition to Transylvania. I won't be back until early August, so see you then!