West Cornwall can be surprisingly productive during the winter months and our West Cornwall Winter tour takes full advantage of some of the best areas to look for our winter visitors. The excursion is purposely flexible to coincide with the high tides and we will aim to be at Hayle for the incoming tide. There should be good numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover with a supporting wader cast of Grey and Ringed Plover, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Black and Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Turnstone and Dunlin. Red-breasted Merganser and Goosander may also be present and we will check Carnsew Pool for Divers and Grebes. The resident Spoonbill will hopefully be present and we will scan the gulls for Glaucous and Iceland Gulls. A visit to the hide at Ryan’s Field will hopefully enhance our chances of seeing Kingfisher too.
The trip will also see us around Mount’s Bay, checking the sea and beaches at Marazion for white-winged Gulls, Divers, Grebes and waders such as Sanderling on the beach. The Pacific Diver, which has returned to winter in the bay for over ten years, will hopefully return again and it is possible to see Great Northern, Red-throated and Black throated and even White-billed Diver (if we are really lucky!) all in one day. We will also scan the reed beds at RSPB Marazion Marsh and hopefully catch a glimpse of an elusive Bittern. En-route to Sandy Cove, Newlyn we will stop briefly at Jubilee Pool, Penzance where Purple Sandpipers gather on the rocks. Newlyn Harbour and the western end of the bay at Sandy Cove will be covered in the hope of finding Black-necked, Red-necked or Slavonian Grebe, Eider or Common Scoter. The scrub at Sandy Cove often holds Water Rail and overwintering Firecrest too.
Our day will end on the moorland at Men-an-Tol where there is traditionally a winter Hen Harrier roost. Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl, Kestrel, Peregrine and Merlin are also all possible additions to our day list.
This is another dawn til dusk bird watching experience. It may be cold (it is the end of November!) so dress appropriately, especially towards the end of the day as it gets darker on the exposed moor at Men-an-tol. A warm beverage in a flask is advisable!
Parking is FREE at our Hayle HQ! Meet there at 7.30am.