Where do you go birdwatching in Cornwall? This site guide should give you a few ideas. Take a look at the Cornwall Birding site Map too. Why not submit a site guide of your own favourite Cornwall birding area.


The estuary at Hayle is the most westerly in the County and is renowned nationally as a great birding area, turning up many rarities in the past. The estuary is owned by the RSPB and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its wintering wildfowl and waders. Continue reading

The Carrick Roads – A Site Guide

This area North-East of Falmouth and Penryn, part of the Fal Estuary is known as The Carrick Roads. Being so deep it regularly attracts sea-going birds in the winter. The roads are renowned for good numbers of wintering water birds and traditionally hold one of the largest flocks of wintering Black-necked Grebes in the UK. Continue reading

Stithians Reservoir – A Site Guide

Stithians Reservoir is undoubtedly the best area of open water for birdwatching in the county, equalled arguably by some, only by Drift Reservoir. The highest numbers of birds in winter and during passage times. Most of the reservoir is pretty shallow and dabbling rather than diving ducks dominate with 100 each at least of Teal and Wigeon. Continue reading

Argal and College Reservoirs – A site Guide

These two reservoirs owned by South West Water and managed as nature reserves by the South West Lakes Trust are situated on a south-west to north-east line just 2 miles from the center of Falmouth. There are circular walks around both reservoirs each requiring about an hour and a half (at a birders pace). Continue reading

Copperhouse Creek – Site Guide

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…. Continue reading

RAME HEAD (including Penlee Battery and Polhawn Cove) – Site Guide

Rame Peninsula.

This area has some fantastic coastal walks and some great birding.The best time of year is in the Spring and Autumn, you can walk here in early spring and not meet another person except the odd bird watcher who visit here on a regular basis. This area can get busy in the summer months but still not that bad. It is best to start from Rame Church were you can park but do not block the farm gates in this area as it is a working farm and we have good relations with the land owners at present. It is worth checking the bushes and trees in the church yard as this can turn up the occassional goodie. This is also a good spot for Black Redstart in the autumn, as well as Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and the odd Firecrest. There have been some great finds here in the church yard in the past, you just don’t know what will turn up. In 1999 a Red-flanked Bluetail was present for a week and was later joined by a Chimney Swift! Now make your way down the lane past Rame Barton. Check the trees around here as there have been some good birds found. A Wilsons warbler was seen in this area in 1985. Also Yellow-browed Warbler and Pallas’ Warbler have been found along here as have Red-breasted Flycatcher, Scarlet Rosefinch and Little Bunting. Walk back towards the Church and turn left and follow the military road that takes you to Penlee Battery, checking the fields on the way as these turn up some good birds as well as the more common fare. Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Ortolan Bunting, Woodchat Shrike, Turtle Dove, Little Owl and Corncrake have all been recorded in the past.


Red-flanked Bluetail (1999) (Photo:J.Heaton)

Penlee Battery

You can park here for free if you don’t want to do the full walk but don’t leave any valuables in your car as this is a very quiet spot. The police do make the odd patrol here. This is a good area for Moths and Butterflies as well as some rare Orchids.You see most of the common birds here, aswell as the odd rarety. Roller, Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Red Kite, Hobby, Merlin and Ring Ouzel have all been seen in this area. Head down to the coast path towards Rame. You should see plenty of birds and butterflies and the odd herd of deer on the lower slopes. These paths can turn up all sorts. This is where the Sub-Alpine Warbler was seen this spring, which had been found in the upper field above this path the day before. Good views of the Ravens and Peregrines can be had all along this stretch of coast. The sea is underwatched from this point but should be worth a look at peak times.


Polhawn Cove

Good in a southerly or easterly blow . Therewere 9 Ring Ouzel here in one day in autumn 2006. Dartford Warbler can be found here most times on the lower scrub as well as Stonechat, Yellowhammer, Wheatear, Whinchat. The whole Peninsula is a good for raptors in the autumn – Short-eared Owl, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Merlin, Hobby, Kestrel, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.


The whole area is fairly underwatched and would benefit from more coverage and as mentioned earlier seawatching could result in some good birds.
Queener Point at Polhawn (photo:C.Buckland)

Site Guide and Photos (unless otherwise stated) by Chris Buckland (July 2007)