Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A stroll along the cliff.

Hello and welcome to my latest blog, I trust you have been making the most of the windows of opportunity we have been presented with due to some improving weather to get outside and explore the great outdoors. This week I take a break from my recent blog features to write about  my coastal experience and the wildlife encountered along the way when last week I visited the north coast of Cornwall, specifically Godrevy. As always I hope you enjoy it.

Waking up to a bright sun shine my mood upbeat, after a period of frankly appalling weather which would of been more at home in the dark depths of winter finally being graced with some weather vaguely resembling something appropriate for the time of year was a welcome relief. And so after convincing mum that an afternoon on the cliffs of Godrevy on Cornwall's north coast looking for seals and other wildlife really was the best way to make the most of the weather  I grabbed my camera and we set off, not being able to drive has its advantages, I can devote all my time to looking out for wildlife on route to our destination. I was pleased to see a variety of bird life including charismatic pheasants who seem to enjoy taking their life in their own hands and making mad and often indecisive darts into the road. How they always seem to escape unscathed when they conduct this behaviour is one of life's great mysteries. Rabbits to were easily visible making darts into the hedgerows as we drove past common they may seem to be but their antics are always entertaining and never boring.
Barely had we had time to park the car at our destination when our camera opportunity presented itself in the form of surely one of Britain's most beautiful raptor species the kestrel.  Hovering with unbelievable elegance the bird of prey surveyed the land beneath it, searching for the slightest movement that might betray the presence of an unwary rodent. The occasional aborted swoop meant frustrated, the predator eventually decided enough energy had been spent for no reward in this area and with a graceful change of direction he/she moved on to new hunting grounds maybe a change of location would bring with it better luck.

Excitement over and the  camera put back in its back after some pretty ordinary photography work we pressed on, marine mammals were what I was particularly hoping to see, in particular seals and I knew we were in the right place Godrevy has a reputation as a seal strong hold. And soon a chorus of grunts and other unflattering noises alerted us before we saw the mammals in question to their presence. At first sight on land they look a little  ungainly and on second look they seem even more so they may be supremely agile and graceful in water but out of it the exact opposite. Despite this the sight of so many endearing and charismatic animals will never fail to bring a smile to any ones face as they jostled for position on the beach while others seemed more content in the shallow surf where even in such little water in was obvious where they were most at home. Pictures taken we moved keen not to outstay our welcome even from way up high on the cliffs as as the signs warned us, even the slightest noise could potentially disturb and distress them.

Visiting a coastline means inevitably at some point you will be greeted with the cacophony of noise which a sea bird colony creates. Kittiwakes stuck close to the cliffs with most allowing the thermals to do most of the hard work for them, saving energy, while Herring Gulls patrolled with a hint of menace about them. A flock of curlews a little further inland even appeared adding their own unique calls to the avian choir. Having the opportunity to spend time in the company of wildlife is a privilege not a right and if we had seen nothing else that would of been fine with me. As we started our drive home however there was one final treat in store, a beautiful sparrowhawk flew across the road in front of us and just as quickly as it appeared it disappeared back into the cover of the vegetation on the side of the road, probably with thoughts of terrorising small birds in mind as it searched for its latest meal a wonderful end to a fantastic afternoon.

Here is something that may interest you fellow wildlife enthusiasts.
Set up by my friends Nicole and Mathew, they offer you the chance to visit some of the most amazing locations on the planet and create memories that will last a lifetime
On facebook -!/TrailsAndTailsTravel/info

You can now follow my wildlife specific twitter account @ReallyWildWykes

That is all for this week everyone, next time I go back into the series of features including "senses " and "conservation success stories" I hope you enjoyed it, until next time all the best,
George :)