Location: Breney Common Nature Reserve
Photographer: Rowena Castillo Nicholls
Videographer: Rob Nicholls
Cornwall is known for its diverse nature and wildlife. Every year, hundreds and even thousands of nature and wildlife enthusiasts come down to Cornwall to have a glimpse of some rare birds, butterflies and other notable species.
I have been sooo lucky to be the "FIRST" one to have seen and photographed the Bearded Vulture, also known as the LAMMERGEIER or OSSIFRAGE in Cornwall in 23rd May 2016. Me and my husband Rob Nicholls cannot believe our luck.
We were actually in Breney Common in Bodmin doing a butterfly survey in preparation for our fieldtrip on Monday, 30th May for the Cornwall Butterfly and Moth Society Fieldtrip to see the rare Marsh Fritillary.
It was a sunny afternoon, about 2:30pm. We were looking up towards Helman Tor when a large bird, soaring high, came into sight over the ridgeline, heading in a south westerly direction. It’s just gliding gracefully in the sky. The wingspan was probably 9 feet or more, 3 metres.
It was very high, maybe up to 2,000 feet and had a small bird in tow - which was not getting too close. The small bird turned out to be a buzzard!
The Lammageier did not flap its wings. It was just gliding gracefully across the sky. It was huge and unlike anything usually seen in the skies over Cornwall.
Luckily, I was already prepared with my camera and was able to take a few shots.
We were able to watch it for about 12 minutes, before it went out of sight.
Perhaps, a once-in-a-lifetime sighting.
It's nice to sometimes be in the right place, at the right time!
Another rare species we’ve seen on that day in Breney Common is the Marsh Fritillary butterfly which is on the “UK BAP: Priority Species”, section 41 species of principal importance under the NERC Act in England” and “fully protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act”.
Other species were Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Small Copper, Common Blue, Small Heath, Read Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tip, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brimstone, Speckled Wood and a lot more.
It’s really great to see all this amazing wildlife. But with the increasing habitat loss cause by development, we are in danger of losing all these species.
We need wildlife for pollination. Insects such as bees, butterflies and moths and other animals such as birds, rodents and monkeys are all examples of pollinators. The wildlife causes plants to make fruit or seeds. They do this by moving pollen from one part of the flower of a plant to another part. This pollen then fertilizes the plant. Only fertilized plants can make fruit and/or seeds, and without them, the plants cannot reproduce.
There are quite a few rare species in Cornwall. So, always keep your eyes open.
Bearded Vulture, also known as the LAMMERGEIER or OSSIFRAGE
Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia