ELEONORA’S FALCON – Porthgwarra – Saturday 11th August 2012

Words and images by Jon Irvine:

“Whilst sea-watching off of Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra, Cornwall on Saturday 11th August we watched a large all-dark falcon insecting at the top of the cliffs on the other side of the cove. It was noticeably bigger and longer winged than a hobby. It was catching large insects in a horizontal flight at the top of the cliff in its talons and then feeding on them in mid-air like a hobby (talon to mouth). It also made several fast stoops down the cliff face repeatedly trying to catch other prey items (small birds/insects?). When gliding gently, it held its head up above its body when searching for prey.

I took a few photos of it from considerable distance and unfortunately it was a bit misty. The underwing shows a dark patch around the coverts/axillaries.

At 3:20pm the bird flew east overhead of us at Gwennap Head (west side of Porthgwarra), over Porthgwarra cove and started hunting at the cliff top about 300-400m east of Porthgwarra along the costal track towards St Levan. It continued hunting for approx. 20 minutes. After a swift stoop down the cliff face it landed on a rock about half way down. I turned away briefly to try to get my scope on it but when I looked up it had disappeared. We later checked the area where it was catching insects at the top of the cliff and there were certainly a lot of flying bees and butterflies, but no further sign of the bird.”

Congratulations to Jon Irvine on this find and managing to capture the above images!

2 thoughts on “ELEONORA’S FALCON – Porthgwarra – Saturday 11th August 2012

  1. Mr. Floris Vogelaar

    My wife and I saw an Eleonora’s Falcon, dark morph, flying over the Pevensey Levels on Sunday August 19 at around 3.00 p.m. Maybe this was the same bird as the one spotted earlier in Cornwall?

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