Sunday, 31 July 2011



Porthgwarra is located on the South Coast of Cornwall, about 2 miles East of Lands End.

Located above the hamlet and small cove is Gwennap Head probably the best seawatching location in Cornwall, it is from here through mid Summer to the end of Autumn the Southwest seawatch group do a census of passing seabirds,and this has turned up a few rarities over the past years. It is also a very good area for Butterflies and insects which can be found over the heathland. Walking and cliff climbing are also very popular pastimes during the Summer months. I hope the few images below which were taken over the last week, convey the feeling of the area which is well worth a visit.

The small cove is used by only a few small local boats, and is not really suitable as a beach area

A safe haven.

In Summer the heathland along the cliffs is a blaze of colour with the heathers, Grasses and other plant life that live here.

The old Coastguard lookout at the top of Gwennap Head, which is now manned by the Southwest Volunteer coastguard group which keeps up a much needed service around our coastline.

The view looking South West below the lookout station and just to the right of the rock on the headland you can see a member of the Seawatch group. This brings the scale of the area into perspective.

Walking back towards the cove this is the view North Eastwards along the coast, and the entrance to Porthgwarra from the sea.


Monday, 25 July 2011



North of Lands End on the Atlantic Coast there is situated the village of Pendeen, and west of the village on the headland is Pendeen Watch. This is one of the best places on the North coast for seawatching (The Migration of passing Seabirds).
To the South West of Pendeen is a large coastal mining area encompassing the Levant and Botallack Mines.


Pendeen looking North along the coast.

The view from Pendeen to the Levant Mine

 Pendeen Lighthouse is located to the north of Pendeen in west Cornwall United Kingdom. Designed by the Trinity House Engineer Sir Thomas Matthews, the 17 m tower, buildings and surrounding wall was constructed by Arthur Carkeek of Redruth. The five-wick Argand lamp provided by Messers. Chance, of Birmingham, was commissioned on 26 September 1900 and replaced in 1926 by an electric one. The original Argand oil lamp was on display at the Trinity House National Lighthouse Museum Penzance until 2005 when the museum closed. Pendeen Lighthouse was automated in 1995 with the keepers leaving the station on 3 May.

Apart from the tower itself, with its machinery built into the base, there is an 'E' shaped building split into a terrace of four cottages. Three of the cottages were originally used to house the three resident keepers, their wives and families, with the fourth used as an office area and sleeping accommodation for the supernumerary keepers. They are now let as holiday cottages.

Behind the cottages there were three kitchen gardens (which soon fell into disuse as nothing would grow in such an exposed position) and, on the seaward side of the complex, a fog horn and its accompanying machinery. Water was originally collected off the flat roof of the accommodation block and stored in an underground tank. So, apart from food and paraffin, the lighthouse keepers were virtually self-sufficient

Historical Text taken from Wikipedia.


From the Levant Mine to Pendeen Watch.


Levant - A Brief History

Levant is one of Cornwall's most famous mines and like many others in the county very little is recorded of its early history. In 1820 Richard Boyns, a local mining man, formed a new company to work the mine. Almost immediately they struck a rich vein of copper ore which eventually led to large dividends being paid to the share holders. This company operated Levant until getting into difficulties in 1871 when a new company was formed to take over the mine, its purser being Richard White, who was to run Levant for the next 30 years or so.

Over the years the mine continued to get deeper and to go further under the Atlantic Ocean, reaching its deepest point the 350 fathom level by 1904. Access to the lower levels was achieved by sinking two shafts out under the sea, Old Submarine shaft connecting the 210 to the 302 fathom level and, New Submarine Shaft connecting the 260 to the 350 fathom level.

To get to and from their place of work the miners had to climb many hundreds of feet on the ladders. In 1857 a Man Engine was installed on the mine, and eventually this saved the men enormous toil by enabling them to descend to and ascend from the 266 fathom level ( approximately 1800 feet from surface) with very little effort. On October 20th 1919 however the main rod of the Man Engine broke killing 31 miners and injuring many more.

In 1920 the old cost book company was dissolved to be replaced by a new limited company 'The Levant Tin Mines Limited' under a new manager Colonel F.F. Oats. Amazingly, only working from surface down to the 210 fathom level the mine survived for ten years on ground supposedly worked out many years before. It did however finally close in October 1930.

The Levant Mine Disaster

On the fateful day of the 20th of October 1919, just about 2.45pm in the afternoon, the Man engine was carrying a full load of miners who were returning to surface at the end of their shift. An iron strap securing the beam to the wooden rod in the shaft broke. The Man engine rod fell down the upper parts of the shaft snapping in several places and carrying its human cargo with it. At a depth of almost 150 feet, just below the 24 fathom balance bob, the engine rod broke in two and crashed down through the shaft. Projections on the side of the engine rod known as catch wings stopped the rod from any further descent at the 70 fathom level (420 feet). There was still a great deal of destruction caused to the upper parts of the shaft and 31 miners were lost. A simple plaque next to the shaft list the names of those miners lost. More can be learned about the human side of the disaster at the excellent Levant Mine Disaster. The disaster caused a body blow to Levant, one from which it was never really to recover.
Historical text taken from Nicholas family history link below.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011



Drove to Hayle Estuary this morning where Paul found a Pacific Golden Plover last evening, so was very pleased to see it was still resident.
The weather was still full cloud cover and frequent rain showers, so not the best light for photography.
Anyway still managed to get a few record shots of this lifer, and hope it stays around for a few days as the weather is expected to improve. So below are a few images of this lovely bird in full plumage.



Monday, 18 July 2011



Oh what a beautiful windy ,wet, miserable weekend, well we have to keep positive don't we.
So Monday morning and nothings changed, so its back to last weeks outings for the post, when we did get a couple of decent days.



This is my first Greyling and really pleased to get a new  species.


A rare chance to get the moth trap out.


This one gave me a real runaround at the Carnon Valley before
it settled long enough for me to get 2 shots.


Thursday, 14 July 2011



Its been a beautiful sunny day with temperatures around 22c, so have made the best of any spare time this afternoon walking the lanes and fields at the back of the house. I must admit I am ignoring most of the Flies and Hover Flies at the moment unless I find something different.
So what were to days little gems, well I took the public footpath across the fields halfway up the back lane, and came across this Comma Butterfly which was very obliging letting me take shots for about 15 mins as it rested on a Bramble bush in the warm sunshine.
The only downside was it would not turn flat on to the camera lens to allow me to get a clean DOF shot, this is because as well as the 60mm Macro lens I have fitted a 12mm extension tube between lens and camera so I can only focus from 15mm to just about touching the subject. This results in a very narrow depth of field.
Anyway after this on the way back home I spent a little time looking for a new favourite subject the LABYRINTH SPIDER (Sorry Sue if this makes you cringe).




This spider gets its name because it makes a widespread web on hedges and bushes and then makes a deep web hole which it hides in and when prey is caught it rushes out and takes it back into its labyrinth to eat its meal. What I did here was to tickle its web with a blade of grass and it rushed out to see what was for dinner. never mind something else will come along soon.
In the background you can see the hole it has made. ( I think these are great).


Tuesday, 12 July 2011



Hi everyone, sorry for the lack of posts over the last week or so, but we have been away for a break to the Isle of Wight.
We had a very nice time although it rained at some point every day,and we got a few soakings but we made the best of it.
So I am sitting here now with a head full of cold, at least I brought something back with me as a reminder of the holiday.
The post today is a short one, and was taken at Godrevy and Gwithian Towans before I went away. This area forms St Ives Bay and is a very popular destination for locals and tourists alike. It also encompasses St Gothian Sands NR and the Hayle Estuary which are  superb migration and over wintering bird sites
Ok that's about it for this one, I will try to get a few more bits on over the coming days, but I have some chores to catch up on and loads of images to sort through, and not much inclination to do it at the moment.



Godrevy and Gwithian form 3 miles of golden sands and is backed up by a large expanse of sand dunes. The opposite side of the bay you can see Carbis Bay and the Town of St Ives.


This is a very popular surfing area.



A large selection of flora can be found amongst the sand dunes including this lovely Sea Holly.


Saturday, 2 July 2011



These images were taken over the last week on a visit to Tehidy Woods and a couple of days later at Bissoe NR which is located about 5 miles east of my home.
There are some new species for me of which one ore two were suprises.


Speckled Bush Cricket ( Leptophyes Punctatissima) 10-17mm

Robber Fly

Meadow Plant Bug ( Leptopterna Dolabrata) 7-10mm

 Hoverfly (Syrphus Ribesii)  15mm

Crane Fly (Tipula Oleracea) 18-30mm
New Species.

Hoverfly (Scaeva Pyrastri ) 15mm

                                Fly ( Ddolichopus Popularis ) 8mm                         



Bissoe NR

Green Shield Bug ( Palomena Prasina) 12-14mm

Harvestman Spider

Bissoe NR

Hoverfly ( Episyrphus Balteatus ) 10-15mm

Hoverfly ( Sphaerophoria Scripta) 12mm
New Species.

Bissoe NR

Labyrinth Spider (Agelena Labyrinthica)
New Species.

Bissoe NR

Tutsan (Hypericum Androsaemum )
New Species.

Alder Cone

Bissoe NR

Urophora Cardui-Female

Now have the ID on this one thanks to JR & Sue.
Thanks John really appreciate that.

Weevil ( Phyllobius Pomaceus ) 9mm
New Species.