Sunday, May 18, 2014

I suppose I should actually get this 'new' blog underway then. I must confess that in choosing this particular destination I am probably playing the 'ace up my sleeve' too soon. With it being Spring, gloriously sunny and me having a day or two off it would have been a bit of a crime not to go to Porthcurno. I went twice in three days in the end.
To say this place is picturesque is a bit of an understatement in my opinion. I'm not the most seasoned traveller but in my limited experience there is no other place I have seen where the sea is that particular colour. I don't think any artist will ever be able to do the views around here justice either.
Armed with factor thirty and some ill fitting shorts I wandered from Treen to Porthchapel and back. A fairly hilly stroll but worth it. I'm thinking i'll probably do a little entry on the Minack at some point so I'm just going to skip that today.
Despite the temptation of staring across the bay at the coves of sand and the seal who had the whole shallow waters of the bay to himself it seemed that, on the wildlife front, small things seemed to inadvertently become the theme of the day. I set out hoping to see dolphins or gannets but instead I ended up looking a bit like a weirdo staring intently at small sections of hedge and directly on the floor.
Luckily I was watching where I was treading before almost squashing this brilliantly named 'Bloody-nosed Beetle.' Simplistic in appearance but quite pretty these critters exude a reddy brown fluid from their mouths if they think they are about to feature on a predators menu. This vile tasting fluid is a deterrent to even the hungriest of foes allowing them to carry on ambling along the grass minding their own business.
The hedges along the cliffside was peppered with these little, and sometime large, Small Eggar moth 'larval webs', good name methinks.
Although a bit creepy the swirling mass of caterpillars was quite captivating. In the end these will all either be dined upon by the various blackbirds, jackdaws, finches and other opportunists, or in the case of the lucky ones become small rather non-descript moths rarely seen as they fly at night looking for another moth to mate with and repeat the whole process again next year. A rather simple life really....
The Isles of Scilly had a rather limited selection of butterflies due to its location. As a result I now seem to uncontrollably skip off in pursuit of anything that flutters and looks different. This is a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. They exist in small isolated colonies across England and we seem to be hosting a good number among the grazing ponies above the little bay to the left of Porthcurno.
When Porthchapel opens up in front of you, in my humble opinion you have arrived at one of the most archetypal and stunning of Cornish coves. Along with the distinct lack of the windbreak and disposable BBQ brigade you are greeted by more white sand, a waterfall, massive and precarious looking granite boulders and a real sense of space.
The water looked so inviting that I decided it was time for my first dip of the year. It was bloody freezing. I wasn't sure quite what I was expecting but it had to be done, approximately 180 seconds of pleasure and pain combined.
Once I stopped shivering and my shorts had drip dried it was time to venture up the valley running down to beach. This is one of Cornwall's best birdwatching sights and also where I photographed the foxes in my previous entry. Didn't stop though.
One of the lovely things about the extreme west of Cornwall is the abundance of little streams that tumble down onto our little beaches and coves. These make great dam building opportunities...for the chidren of course.
They can also be great homes for dragon and damselflies such as this which after looking for aaages I think is a Beautiful Demoiselle. This is an immature male and after reading a little internet page or two it seems that the fast flowing stream he was resting by is a through road for females. So with a one track mind he sits and watches and waits.
My favourite find of the day was this little beauty that was running in manic circles on the footpath. Annoyingly, us Brits at some point decided to call him a 'Common Lizard' whereas if he were European he would have the rather more interesting title of a 'Viviparous Lizard'
A much better name.





  1. Such beautiful photos of a very beautiful area, Max. Also, I love that you highlight those things that ordinary mortals (well . . . me!) don't see as we blunder along the path, probably looking out to sea and missing what's right there under our noses - or at least, our feet.
    I have NEVER seen a lizard in the wild and wasn't aware that they even lived in Cornwall - that is just the best photo, so thank you so much for that one alone.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments! It's lovely to try and point out another perspective. Although not deliberate I did think to myself that maybe I'd omitted to point out how spectacular the vistas are around that area but hopefully you would see that for yourself if you visited.
      Keep your eyes out next time the sun is shining! Our little lizard friends do like basking in the sun on rocks and gravel paths...