Copperhouse Creek is well known as a great birding site, famous for numerous rarity sightings in the past and close to the Hayle Estuary, the Creek can offer plenty for birders wanting to escape the crowds on the main estuary….
From the main A30 roundabout at Hayle head into Hayle Town. Copperhouse creek runs the length of the town of Hayle and there is ample parking along its length. Parking at the Co-Op Stores (opposite ‘Down The Line’ surf shop) is a good option as you can then walk through to the Creek via the footpath at the back of the car park. This covers the eastern end of the creek and you can, if you wish, walk all the way round from here. This is usually the best end to view when the tide is high as waders and gulls gather on the exposed grassy areas. The middle part of the creek is best viewed from the Library Car Park which can be found on the right just after the a car sales garage and opposite ‘The Cornish Arms’ public House. This is a ‘Pay and Display’ car park so don’t leave your vehicle without getting a ticket first! There are public toilets in the car-park here. At the West end of the creek, parking is available near to the open-air swimming pool. (turn right, over the bridge just before the sharp lefthand bend where ‘Philps Pasty Shop’ is located) Parking here is free at the moment and the creek is more accessible for people with disabilities here as St Georges Memorial Walk is very wheelchair friendly. (see Cornwall Birding Site Map)
Copperhouse Creek looking east from the iron bridge and swimming pool Car Park
Gulls and waders are usually the main quarry at Copperhouse and numbers, like the rest of the Hayle Estuary, depend on the state of the tide. An hour before and after high tide are best for waders, gulls can be seen loafing around at most times of the day. The creek is sometimes purposely stopped from emptying so that it can be used for events such as Canoeing and raft racing etc. Although this does not happen very often. In winter, high tide is best for wintering divers, grebes and duck. It is advisable to check the Tide Times before planning a trip to Copperhouse.
Resident species include: Shelduck, Redshank,Curlew, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Herring Gull, Linnet and Rock Pipit. Winter usually produces Divers, grebes and good numbers of Teal and Wigeon aswell as white winged gulls. Spring and Autumn are the best times for Waders, especially on their return journey in late August/early september. These may include Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Greenshank, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Grey and Golden Plover nearer winter. Lapwing can also be found in good numbers during the winter. Summer is generally quiet with only resident species seen.
Copperhouse Creek is famous for a string of rarities, many of which commute between the creek and the main Hayle Estuary. These include: White-billed Diver, Long-billed Dowitcher, Laughing, Ring-billed and Boneparte’s Gull, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least, Pectoral, Buff-breasted and Baird’s Sandpipers. Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon are now almost annual. The vegetation along St Georges Walk has seen Yellow-browed Warbler and Firecrest in recent autumn’s.
Nearby Birding Sites
Hayle Estuary, St Gothian Sands, Porthkidney Sands, Ryan’s Field, Godrevy Point, Carbis and St Ives Bay, Upton Towans NR, Loggans Moor NR.
Copperhouse Creek Guide by P.Freestone, Photos:P.Freestone, M.Halliday and C.Buckland
(Cornwall Birding 2007)