1-day Cornwall Birding Tour
1-day Cornwall Birding Tour
Birding Ecotours is now able to offer exciting 1-day guided birdwatching trips in Cornwall. These day tours can be run at any time and can visit many different parts of Cornwall by request. Below is our top choice for a day trip in Cornwall, where we’d visit Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) Marazion Marsh and Hayle Estuary Reserves.
During the tour we will visit some of Cornwall’s beautiful landscapes.
Marazion Marsh and Hayle Estuary in West Cornwall are some of Britain’s top bird reserves and, being in close proximity, can be easily visited on the same day. Together these reserves offer a brilliant diversity of different habitats that complement one another and boast a high diversity of bird species. We can offer a fabulous birding day tour to these reserves at any time of the year.
Hayle Estuary is an extensive wetland with a large tidal estuary, pools, and wet grassland. The site is brilliant for wading birds, gulls, and waterfowl, and due to its location alongside the town of Hayle, there is brilliant viewing across most of the site. Hayle estuary is a mecca for waterbirds, with some of the many highlights including Eurasian Curlew, both Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Red Knot, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff, Common Ringed Plover, Common Merganser, and Common Kingfisher. In winter there can be up to 10 species of gull roosting on the mudflats at low tide! With the rarer species being Mediterranean, Yellow-legged, and Caspian Gull. The site is regularly visited by uncommon migrants, for example, there is a Eurasian Spoonbill and Green-Winged Teal at the reserve at the time of writing.
Marazion Marsh offers a variety of birding habitats which makes it an extremely exciting site to visit. The reserve itself is Cornwall’s largest reedbed which is a breeding site for Sedge, Eurasian Reed, and Cetti’s Warblers. During winter, mixed tit flocks – often containing Firecrest, or the rarer Yellow-browed Warbler, a migratory species from Asia – rove through the adjacent woodland. Opposite the reserve is Marazion Bay, where the iconic St. Michael’s Mount castle is located. The beautiful beach is excellent for wading species such as Sanderling, Common Ringed Plover, and Purple Sandpiper, while Common Eider, Brant Goose, Common Scoter, and Common and Arctic Loon use the sheltered bay.
Inquisitive Common Firecrest are beautiful birds that we can find along woodland edges and gardens throughout Cornwall, much more common in winter.
These reserves are particularly good in autumn and winter. Thousands of gulls and wading birds aggregate at low tide on the Hayle, creating quite the spectacle, while seabirds and waterfowl come close to the shore of Marazion Bay. These sites are well known hotspots for rare migrants, and our birding guides always watch the news for any unusual species in the area. Examples include Water Pipit at Hayle estuary or the Ring-billed Gull that returns there most winters, Glossy Ibis and Purple Heron in the Marazion marsh, Citrine Wagtail on Marazion beach, and rare Nearctic wading birds such as White-rumped or Baird’s sandpiper which have turned up at both sites.
Glaucous Gull is one of many gull species which can be found along the Cornish coast in winter.
For Cornwall day tours in either the spring or summer, we would visit the reserves but then we have the option of seeking out some of Cornwall’s breeding specialities. These include the characterful White-throated Dipper which are common along certain fast-flowing rivers throughout England’s southwest and, thanks to conservation efforts, Cirl Bunting now breed again in Cornwall. Perhaps the most iconic of Cornwall’s bird species is the Red-billed Chough, which satisfyingly are increasing in numbers year on year since their natural reintroduction in 2001. It’s simply a joy to watch these charismatic birds as they forage along the Cornish coasts.
While our Cornwall day trips offer some excellent scarce and sometimes even rare UK birds, there are a number of common birds likely to be seen too, and we’ve prepared three blog posts on the common garden, farmland and woodland, and wetland and coastal birds that you might find interesting and useful in your preparation for a birding trip in the UK. We also of course offer full-length British birding tours such as our England in winter birding tour and our spring birding tour encompassing the best of Scotland and England.