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Birdwatching in Cornwall

Cornwall has four main bird-rich estuaries, the Hayle and the Camel on the Atlantic coast and those of the Tamar, the border with Devon and the Fal on the sheltered southern coast.


These estuaries provide a wide variety of habitats for resident and migrating birds, rocky ledges, muddy creeks, salt marshes and freshwater coves, which provide shelter for a diversity of birdlife, herons, herring gulls, buzzards, oystercatchers, golden plovers, mute swans and redshanks among them.

Some of the best birdwatching reserves in Cornwall are:-

The Hayle Estuary (SW 550370)

Located just west of Hayle and owned by the RSPB, facilities include hide and parking and admission is free. Wintering duck, gulls and grebes, passage waders and terns, including many records of rarities.

Marazion Marsh (SW 515318)

Owned by the RSPB and situated at the head of Mount's Bay, the site contains Cornwall's largest reedbed, with breeding Reed and Sedge warblers. Good for migrants and speciality is autumn Aquatic warbler. Ducks and waders.

Stithians Reservoir (SS 715365)

Owned by the Cornwall Birdwatching & Preservation Society and located near the village of Stithians, parts of the reservoir are shallow with marshy edges, proving attractive to waders and ducks. Admission is free

Tamar Lakes (SS 295115)

Situated near Kilkhampton and owned by South West Water, the reserve contains visitor centre, hides, cafe and toilets. A permit is required for some areas. Wildfowl, waders, raptors and Black tern.