A mornings bespoke tour was requested by our clients Elly and Martin, last Thursday and to see as many birds as we could well, without going ‘twitching’! The Gwithian area followed by high tide at the Hayle Estaury was the obvious itinerary.

St Gothian Sands NR at Gwithian rarely disappoints and there is always something to see. Nothing out of the ordinary but plenty of commoner species for inexperienced birders to get to grips with at close quarters. Wildfowl included Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck and Mute Swan. The twenty plus Med Gulls once again kept us entertained for some time explaining the differences in age as well as the difference between them and the nearby Black-headed Gulls. Smaller birds included Meadow and Rock Pipits, Stonechat and Pied Wagtails but the wind and rain kept most smaller birds hidden. A quick drive up to Godrevy Head saw us successfully scoping for Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones and Oystercatchers.

We started our time on the Hayle estuary at the old Lelant Station, where the owner of the station house regularly feeds the birds in his garden which can be viewed from the platform. We added a few woodland species here including Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit and Grey Wagtail. The male Wigeon on the main estuary showed at close range much to the delight of our clients! A duck we take for granted on the estuary at this time of year, the males are quite stunning when seen filling the scope! The creek at the back of the Tempest factory held Greenshank, Redshank, Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwit, all in the same scope view so nice to compare.

We stopped briefly at the Old Quay House car park before heading to our last destination, Ryan’s Field. The incoming tide pushed up Grey Plover and Dunlins amongst the gulls and a Red-breasted Merganser fed in the main channel. The flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover were also starting to build up and were easily spooked by passing Buzzards.

We finished our morning at Ryan’s Field RSPB, where we were treated to a perched Kingfisher right in front of the hide. It stayed in the area for most of our visit and was briefly joined by another! At least four Jays and a Sparrowhawk were also seen here and a party of Long-tailed Tits were frustratingly heard but not seen! All in all we had a great morning, avoided the majority of the rain and even witnessed some sunshine!! We managed 61 species in just four hours without really trying! A look at the sea could have added a few more, but our clients went away very happy and have already shown an interest in some of our planned trips.

If you have plans for a birdwatching trip to Cornwall, why not contact us and arrange a guide! see the contacts page on here!