Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Lizard

Our week in Cornwall at the end of May/start of June seems like a long time ago already. The Lizard is one of those places that every naturalist should visit, and I wasn’t disappointed. There is some fantastic heathland and maritime grassland habitat, and even as a non-botanist I spent some time searching out and identifying some of the peninsular's special plants (including several which occur no-where else in Britain). A few pics of these below.

Coastal grassland
Broomrape sp.
Upright Clover
The Lizard Point
Goonhilly Downs
Wild Chives
Early Marsh Orchid (incarnata)
Trackway near Goonhilly Downs
A  nice little damp patch
Windmill Hill Farm
Marsh Fritillary habitat at Windmill Hill Farm
Windmill Hill Farm
Thyme Broomrape at Kynance
Prostrate Broom
Flowery turf at Kynance
Gone over Spring Squill
Spring Sandwort
Hairy Greenweed
Kynance Cove
Spotted Cat's-ear
Early Purple Orchid
Fringed Rupturewort
Western Clover
Long-headed Clover
Rough Clover
Caerthillian Cove
Hairy Bird's-foot Trefoil
Grassland at Caerthillian Cove - clover central
A pool near Goonhilly Downs
Lizard Downs
Church Cove
Ivy (?) Broomrape
Wild Clary

The birding was generally sedate, although the fact that we found ourselves in the most southerly part of mainland Britain at the end of spring wasn’t a co-incidence. I spent the week with my ears pricked for the sound of a Bee-eater or Serin overhead, but had to make do with a self-found Red-footed Falcon - and a dodgy kite. The only other birds of note were 2 Chough (in flight at Lizard Point) and three Red Kites, plus several Cuckoos.

The only picture I could get of a Chough

Other wildlife included a couple of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries on the coast between Kynance and Caerthillian, and a Slow-worm at Windmill Hill Farm; the latter site also supports a Marsh Fritillary colony, but I couldn’t find any (not helped by sub-optimal weather).

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

The Lizard is one of only two places in the UK where the rock serpentine occurs (part of the reasons the area is so botanically-rich). The other place is Unst, where I’ll be in just over three months time! But before that, our next trip is to South Africa, which will be a bit different from Cornwall I’m sure...

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