I had heard there were more Choughs – the famous Cornwall black birds with red legs and red beaks –  around Botallack compared to the Lizard where there is only one pair, but we did not expect to see any.  However we were on the inland part of our circular Botallack walk I mentioned last week, when Andrew suddenly said he thought the 8 black birds on a roof of an isolated cottage were Choughs! We were delighted when we realised they were as Andrew had never seen any and I had seen two in flight but only because I was told they were Choughs. They had not been not close enough to see the red legs and beaks. But the ones on this roof definitely had red legs. Then when they took off in flight we could see their wide ‘fingered’ wings, another of their distinguishing features. It made me think of that saying about buses you don’t see any and then you see lots! The fact there are so many around Botallack is credit to the National Trust (NT).

They have put in place nature conservation such as reintroducing cliff grazing. Horse and cows are used to munch through the scrub and break up the dead leaf litter allowing seeds to germinate creating a variety of vegetation providing food for birds, butterflies and insects.

The NT has also worked with its tenant farmers to encourage the return of arable weeds and use crop rotation without pesticides and weedkillers. The result has been a spectacle of wild flowers.  Plus some barley is left unharvested to attract birds such as the Choughs.

This has been done on much of the coastal land the NT owns in Cornwall but on the Tin Coast they also had to deal with all the mine waste. Little by little they have restored habitats. They also invested £5 m in 70 industrial sites with 2000 shafts and 13 engine houses being conserved between 1995 and 2005. They have also decontaminated two former arsenic works.  Find out more about this work here.

I forgot to say last week that the National Trust lady at Botallack remembered Andrew as she chatted to him after wild swimming around Church Cove. She used to work at Kynance so still likes going back to the area.

We had a glorious sunny day when we did the Botallack walk – see pictures above – and I was walking in a T shirt. My brother stayed at the Cellars last week and he had even better weather and actually got sunburnt! I was at a nutritional talk recently and I learnt that the Government recommends we all take a Vitamin D supplement in this country as our bodies only make Vitamin D from April to September when the sun is strong enough and we don’t get enough from foods. Make be October this year! Government advice is that everyone in the UK should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 µg of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body and these these nutrients keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy so quite important! The recommended form of vitamin D is vitamin D3. This is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight.

To end on some very good news; I read the lifeboat volunteer who was injured recently and airlifted to hospital is now out of hospital.


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