The coast near Land’s End is as new to me as the Scillies. I took advantage of an unexpectedly sunny morning last Thursday, and walked south from the youth hostel in Cot Valley: there were some great photo opportunities – and a birding puzzle…
This view seemed to epitomise much of what the area is about – with the Land’s End peninsula in the distance and an old mine shaft (probably for copper or tin) in the foreground. The dry stone wall suggests that it may be somewhat older than those in the more industrial landscape around the Levant mine workings a few miles further north, and I would be intrigued to find out about its history.
I find kestrels quite hard to photograph but this one was more obliging, having found itself a spectacular perch… (which looks even better enlarged…)
My birding senses were baffled when a large, slate grey bird, with a white tail and hind-quarters, flew overhead and along the coast. I was sure I’d never seen any sea bird like it before and leafed through my bird book, to no avail. I hastened to the next vantage point in the path, without success, and even asked a couple of walkers whether they had seen it. All to no avail – until, half an hour later, I found one of these two walkers staring, fascinated, at this Brent goose. I went up to him and said “That’s it, that’s the bird I saw!”
We were both baffled that a Brent goose should be found on the Cornish coast – and indeed they are found mainly along the east and south-east coasts. However, another local told us that there were a small number around Marazion near Penzance, which may solve our mystery.