Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly which lie 28 miles west of the Land's End have a much envied reputation for birdwatching. Rare birds are often blown off course during their migration and take an unscheduled break in Cornwall.
The birdlife of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is constantly changing. Species once considered rare visitors can suddenly appear in large numbers. Cattle Egrets, usually an uncommon visitor with only 12 records in Cornwall in a period of 26 years, are now becoming a more common sight. The Winter of 2007/08 saw 60 Cattle Egrets in Cornwall. The best time of the year for glimpsing these members of the heron family is December. Sightings have occurred throughout Cornwall including the far south west at Sennen Cove and the Walmsley Sanctuary at Wadebridge.
Cormorant at Swanpool Nature Reserve
Photograph by John Morgan
During 2002 a pair of Hoopoes spent several days in the valley behind Porthgwarra. These striking birds would normally reside in continental Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Peregrine Falcons, now well established in Cornwall, bred on a clifftop site on the North Cornish coast; and a pair of Choughs, Cornwall's national bird, not seen here for many years bred successfully for the first time in 50 years, producing 4 chicks. Christmas 2002 sightings in West Penwith included: Rosy Starling; 3 Cranes; Gyr Falcon; Ring Billed Gull; 2 Black Redstarts; Brent Goose; Little Egret.
In August 2009, around the Land's End Peninsula alone, in varous sites from Hayle, St Ives, Pendeen Watch, Botallack, Sennen Cove, Land's End, Porthgwarra, Newlyn, Penzance, Marazion, there have been sightings of Mediterranean Gull, Wilson`s Storm-petrel, Arctic Shearwater, Storm-petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Great Skua, Common Scoter, Whimbrel, Sandwich Tern, Black-browed Albatross, Cory`s Shearwater, Pied Flycatcher, Puffins, Green Sandpiper, Wheatear, Pectoral Sandpiper, Curlew, Common Rosefinch, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua, Spotted Crake and Black-throated Diver.
|11/04/2017||Little Egret||Marazion Marsh Nature Reserve||Paul Ash|
|11/04/2017||Grey Heron||Grey Heron feeding a chick at Marazion Marsh Nature Reserve||Paul Ash|
|11/04/2017||Spoonbill||Ryan's Field Hayle RSPB Reserve||Paul Ash|
|06/04/2017||Swallows||Large group of swallows over Pentire Point and The Rumps.|
|04/04/2017||Swallows||I saw three Swallows today at Bude at 14.30 4th April heading inland from the coast.||V Watling|
|Click here to view the complete Cornwall Bird Sightings Diary|
In addition to the wealth of rare birds which can be seen, Cornwall's resident bird population is huge and varied. From the waders and waterfowl to the magnificent birds of prey, the birdlife of Cornwall will be of interest to anyone who enjoys observing birds in a beautiful natural environment.
There are many sites around Cornwall which are of great interest to birdwatchers. These include: Marazion Marsh and Hayle Estuary, both of which have RSPB Reserves; Porthgwarra and many of the valleys on the Land's End peninsula; Stithians Reservoir; the creeks of the Truro and Fal Rivers; the Camel Estuary with the Walmsley Sanctuary near Chapel Amble, Wadebridge; Goss Moor; and Dozmary Pool.
The Isles of Scilly are also of great interest, not only for the Puffins which can be seen in the seas around the bird sanctuary island of Annet and the colonies of other breeding seabirds but also for the numerous birds which visit the islands during Spring and Autumn migrations.
During the months from August to October many rare birds can be seen as they get blown off course while crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Books can be purchased online by clicking on the text links below:
The Cornwall Bird watching and Preservation Society produces an annual publication which includes a checklist of the years sightings. Membership is open to everyone with an interest in birds. For further information contact Steve Rogers 01872 273 004
For other items of bird watching interest please click on the following link:
Websites providing further information on birdwatching in Cornwall:
Map of Birdwatching locations in Cornwall
Use the + scale on the left of the map to zoom in on an area. Click on a marker to see the name of the location and click the box to go to the information about that place. To zoom out click - on the scale.
(Google Map integrated by www.choughmountain.eu)
Birdwatching locations in Cornwall
Birds in Cornish
Birds in Cornwall
Things to do
Maps of Cornwall :
The Ordnance Survey publishes the Explorer series of maps which are
ideal for walkers.
Those covering Cornwall:
Map of Isles of Scilly:101 Isles of Scilly
For more information: www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk
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