Black-headed gull, Canada goose, curlew, Herring gull, Lelant Saltings, Little egret, Mute swan, oystercatcher, shelduck, The Old Quay House
It was about an hour from The Lost Gardens of Heligan to the out-of-town shopping centre near where I was to stay, and I called in at the Marks and Spencer food hall there for a few provisions. Five minutes later I was settling into my room in The Old Quay House. In 2021, I had chosen a very low budget B and B place in Penzance, which was fine if I just wanted to sleep there and have breakfast. But in less good weather (and sadly Cornwall does have quite a bit of that), or when I just didn’t want to go out, it had been far from satisfactory, having no comfortable chair to sit in, very little space, a small window looking on to back yards, and no garden to sit in. So this time, I had looked for a places equally, if not more, convenient for getting around, and with amenities that had been lacking in the Penzance accommodation.
It meant paying, a lot more, but my goodness it was worth it. I had looked in the Hayle area for convenience. There did not seem to be an enormous number of hotels there, but I could not have found a better setting. Not just a vista, but an RSPB reserve, at the head of an estuary, with the tide coming and going twice a day. A private patio. A decent size room. Windows on three sides. Continental breakfast provided in the room the day before, and a fridge to keep a few provisions. A mainline railway station, St Erth, 15 minutes’ walk away, and as I discovered, some handy bus stops and routes very nearby.
I remembered to take some photos before I started spreading my belongings around.
Of course the first thing I did was to open the patio doors. The tide had just turned, and was beginning to rush out over the flat estuary.
The first bird I noticed was a solitary juvenile Herring gull.
Returning indoors, I was immediately pulled outside again by the haunting sound of …. a Curlew!
Further out, there was a Mute swan. Sadly, it became clear through the week that there was only the one.
In the distance, with a little-used branch line station, Lelant Saltings, in the background, the ‘gang’ as I came to call them, of Canada geese emerged from one of the creeks.
Through the evening I kept going out on to the patio. (It was quite chilly.)
The Curlew again.
It took me a while to identify these, but they are young Shelduck.
The tide has a lot further to to go out yet. Apart from a couple of wide feeder creeks, the water will disappear entirely.
I was pleased to see a Little egret by one of the creeks, lit by the setting sun. I learned that this was a favourite spot.
For some days, the next day (Tuesday’s) weather forecast had been appalling, especially in the afternoon, so I had my plan B ready…