The sound of birdsong

Saturday, 4th April 2015, (Day 6, week 13)

Aiming for 1000 miles in one year, an average of 20 miles a week.

So far I’ve walked 271.5 miles (20.5 miles this week)


Today the cliffs were alive with the sound of birdsong and Mr RR has a new toy!

It’s a very useful toy it has to be said – it’s an app on his phone – you choose a bird and it sings the birdsong for you to help you identify what you’re seeing and hearing.  We amused ourselves with it today on the breezy cliffs and coastpath from Halzephron to Mullion.

On the Coast Path Acrylic on Canvas
On the Coast Path
Acrylic on Canvas

Halzephron Cliffs to Mullion and return via Poldhu Cove (6.7 miles)

This is a very hilly walk – lots of ups and downs along the way!

We head along the coast path towards Church Cove, down over the hill to the beach, across the little stream and up the hill the other side.  On route we spot a pair of unusual birds on the drystone wall alongside the coast path.  Mr RR is puzzled at first and suggests that they may be twite – whoever heard of such a name for a such a pretty bird –  or redpoll. Later research via the new app and the RSPB book convinces us that they are linnet.

A little further on and we hear what we think are skylarks.  Mr RR engages the app, and we stop on the grassy cliff top to see what happens.  Sure enough after a couple of seconds a beautiful skylark comes fluttering towards us, he circles us dipping and diving and clearly confused about where the sound is coming from and worried about invasions of his territory.  Maybe he has a nest nearby.  We turn off the app and let him go.

After crossing the beach we walk uphill alongside the golf course wondering at the amount of erosion that has taken place since we started walking here, maybe 10 years ago.  The path we used to walk has broken away in several places and the cliff face looks set to drop into the sea at any time. Probably they’ll have to move the golf course soon!

The tide is very low and rocks we’ve not noticed before are exposed. Down over the hill into Poldhu Cove where surfing lessons are taking place, we avoid the cafe for the moment and make our way uphill again towards the Marconi Wireless Station.  After a short walk along the cliffs we turn inland at Polbream Point and follow the track along the valley which emerges on the road just outside Mullion village.  Down below us in the valley, a troop of pony trekkers, and up in the trees above us we can hear and see dunnock, blue tits and great tits. In Mullion we see a goldfinch perched on the telegraph wire.  We try the app on the dunnock, but although he seems to answer the call with his own song, he doesn’t come near – staying safely in the shrubbery.

Its a brief step down the road and round the corner back towards the wireless station and down over the hill for a cup of tea at that cafe.  The surfers have finished lessons and are queuing up for hot food and drinks, not surprisingly, as its very cold with a biting wind and they’re only little people!

Refreshed we make our way back over the hills to Church Cove and up to Halzephron Cliffs.

Halzephron Cliff
Halzephron Cliff
Halzephron Cliff
Halzephron Cliff
St Winwalloe Church at Church Cove
St Winwalloe Church at Church Cove
The erosion at Church Cove - the footpath used to go straight across here.
The erosion at Church Cove – the footpath used to go straight across here.

Birds of the day!

Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)

A small finch with a long forked tail and short bill. Very nervous, seen on low bushes or on the ground and nests on gorse covered rough ground.  Eats seeds especially oilseed rape seed.

Skylark (Alauda arvensis)

Larger than a sparrow, spends most of the time on the ground.  Likes open grassland and heath and feeds on plants and insects.  UK population fallen by 50% recently – probably due to increase in pesticide use.

We also saw:

Blue tits, great tits, goldfinch, jackdaw, crows, gulls.

Flower of the day:

Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis)
Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis)

The common scurvy grass has heart shaped, succulent leaves which are a source of vitamin C and were used by sailors to prevent scurvy – usually flowers May to August so its a little early.

We also saw:

Sea Pinks - just beginning to flower
Sea Pinks – just beginning to flower
Hawthorn blossom
Hawthorn blossom

And two plants I can’t identify – any ideas? I suspect they aren’t really wild flowers – but have spread from someone’s garden maybe?



Hope you enjoyed reading!

Rickety x

Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Mr RR:

On Pilgrim's Way
On Pilgrim’s Way


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