Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:


Tour Code:

Intermediate with flexible finish times. Up to 5 miles walking per day with some steep inclines

Group Size:

Eight plus Leader

The Lizard Laughing Gull Spotted Sandpiper Least Sandpiper Red-billed Chough Radde's Warbler

Cornwall - Autumn Migration

Date: 17th - 23rd October 2021 (ONE SPACE) - Guaranteed Departure
Leaders: Gary Elton



Arrive at Bosavern House and check in. Your tour leader will meet you and following a quick chat, we will depart at approximately 14.30 and spend the remainder of the afternoon at nearby Drift Reservoir. Wildfowl are present and have recently included Ring-necked Duck and Lesser Scaup. In the waterside scrub Yellow-browed Warbler and Firecrest are sometimes found. Green Sandpiper and Common Greenshank are regular and the occasional rarity has been noted. Tufted Duck and Common Pochard are present in small numbers and we should encounter Common Coot, Common Kingfisher, Moorhen and Little Grebe. Mediterranean Gull is fairly regular, Dipper is sometimes present near the dam and there is always the chance of a passing Osprey. We have also seen Whooper Swan, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper, Pink-footed Goose and Long-billed Dowitcher here on past tours.
Our first full day sees us on the coast in and around Penzance. Our first stop is at Marazion, which owing to the large variety of habitats should produce a good start to our week. Several species of passerines use the reed beds and scrub for cover and it would not be unexpected to find species such as Yellow-browed Warbler or Firecrest here. Cetti’s Warbler is resident and can also be found at the nearby Long Rock Pool, which has held Long-tailed Duck and Common Scoter on previous tours. Bullfinch and other common passerines such as Reed Bunting should also be present. Wildfowl are present on the marsh and pool and commoner species include Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon and Common Teal. Raptors are also usually present and at this time should include Merlin, Peregrine and perhaps even a passing Marsh Harrier. On the beach, we check the shorebird and gull flocks for any unusual species, whilst offshore we check for seabirds, divers and grebes and small pods of Common Dolphin. Little Egret, Brent Goose and Mediterranean Gull are usually also present. In the afternoon, we visit the nearby harbour in Penzance and the beach at Tolcarne for Ruddy Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper, as well as more gulls and we have also seen Harbour Porpoise, Great Northern Diver and Common Guillemot here. Rare and uncommon species we have seen in the above area include Surf Scoter, Laughing Gull and Leach’s Storm Petrel. We have also encountered incredibly tame Grey Phalaropes both in and around the municipal swimming pool on more than one occasion!
Following breakfast, we visit the picturesque estuary at Hayle, where we spend much of the day. From the Old Quay or Lelant Saltings, we can expect to see close up views of large numbers of Common Teal and Eurasian Wigeon. We have also seen American Wigeon, Franklin’s Gull, Green-winged Teal, Eurasian Spoonbill, Spotted, White-rumped and Pectoral Sandpipers on previous tours. Small numbers of Brent Goose and the odd Garganey are usually noted. Peregrines regularly hunt the estuary, Mediterranean Gull and Little Egret are almost guaranteed here and there may well still be Sandwich Terns present. Shorebirds are also expected in good numbers with Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint usually present, amongst the commoner species. Sanderling and both Grey and European Golden Plover are noted further down near the town itself. Many rare species have been noted here including Stone Curlew, and from the other side of the Atlantic; Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper and Long-billed Dowitcher.  Anyone of these species could be present here or at Ryan’s Field, which is just a short walk away. This marshy area is a good site for Green Sandpiper, Common Snipe and Ruff. Further along we stop at the quiet Carnsew Pool that could hold a Slavonian or Black- necked Grebe, as well as passerines and more shorebirds, and finally to Copperhouse Creek for more of the same. Common Kingfisher is usually present and small numbers of migrants such as Northern Wheatear and Whinchat pass through. We have also had spectacular views of Common Crane, Ring-billed Gull, Osprey and Least Sandpiper here.
Our destination today is St Just, the most westerly town in England. The many sheltered valleys are renowned for turning up rarities. We will visit as many as possible without rushing including Cot, Kenidjack and Nanquidno. We walk slowly, checking every bird that we see. A variety of finches, tits, warblers and thrushes are usually around in good numbers and the recently recolonised Red-billed Choughs are often in the area. Amongst them we can expect to find one or two Firecrest and quite often a Yellow-browed Warbler or perhaps something much rarer from the east such as Red-flanked Bluetail. These valleys are also the first landfall for any American land bird, that may have been blown across the Atlantic in a fast moving depression and anything could turn up. Past rarities have included Swainson’s Thrush, Varied Thrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-throated and Red- eyed Vireos and American Redstart. We have had spectacular views of several Red-breasted Flycatchers, Western Bonelli’s, Arctic and Barred Warblers, as well as Brambling, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Ring Ouzel and Black Redstart. Whatever may be around, it is certainly exciting exploring these valleys, as you never know what might be in the next bush.
We spend today in and around that most famous of valleys at Porthgwarra. Once again it is very exciting here, as migrants are constantly appearing throughout the day. This in turn attracts raptors and we have seen Peregrine, Merlin, Common Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Common Kestrel and Short- eared Owl at this site. Black Redstart is regular and Meadow Pipits, Sky Larks and finch flocks constantly pass overhead, including the first Brambling of the year. Richard’s Pipit, Lapland and Little Buntings are among the scarcer species that could be present. Yellow-browed and Pallas’s Warbler are regular but often elusive visitors. Radde’s and Dusky Warblers also put in appearances from time to time, but are generally much more difficult to locate. We have also seen Rough-legged Buzzard, Eurasian Hobby, Common Hoopoe, Melodious Warbler, Eurasian Woodcock, Short-eared Owl, Pied and sewveral Red-breasted Flycatchers and Ring Ouzel on previous tours. We spend some time watching the sea, where good numbers of Northern Gannets pass and European Shag can be noted on the rocks. If the wind is from the correct direction passage of Balearic and possibly Sooty Shearwaters and Arctic Skuas can be heavy and there is always the chance of cetaceans. As with anywhere at this time, it is however, the transatlantic species that are the real prizes and this site has a superb record in this respect. American Redstart, Veery, Blackpoll Warbler, Chimney Swift, Alder Flycatcher and Parula Warbler have all been noted. We move on to another valley at St.Leven, which has produced Radde’s Warbler on previous tours and we have also seen Pechora Pipit and another Veery and Yellow-browed Warbler here. We also spend time in the Lands End area, where scarce migrants could include Wryneck, Ring Ouzel and Wood Lark or shorebirds such as American Golden Plover, Dotterel and Buff-breasted Sandpiper may be on the nearby airfield or moors. Other previous sightings we have enjoyed here include both Long and Short-eared Owls, Eurasian Wryneck, Dartford Warbler, Red Kite and Black Redstart. At Sennen, we have had both Sabine’s and Little Gull in the same flock, as well as a Dotterel in the same field and Garden Warbler around the tiny village pool. Richard’s Pipit or Lapland Bunting is sometimes noted in the rough ground and Purple Sandpipers are often on the rocky beach while gulls and occasional seabirds are worth checking offshore at this beautiful location.
Following breakfast, we drive to Stithians Reservoir. Shorebirds at this site could include Common Snipe and Jack Snipe, Green Sandpiper, European Golden Plover or even a late Wood Sandpiper.  It is possible for transatlantic species to be present. Baird’s, Semi-palmated and Solitary Sandpipers, Wilson’s Phalarope have all been noted here, along with more regular visitors from across the pond such as Pectoral and White-rumped Sandpiper. Small numbers of diving duck are usually present and these could include Lesser Scaup, which has been recorded in recent years. Commoner dabbling species include Common Teal, Northern Shoveler and Eurasian Wigeon and occasionally a late Garganey. We have noted American Black Duck on previous tours, Cornwall’s first Blue-winged Teal was seen here and Green-winged Teal has been seen on more than one occasion, as has Pied-billed Grebe, while a Glossy Ibis was present in 2011. Small falls of passerines have included Northern Wheatear, Stonechat and Whinchat. A series of stopping places makes this one of the easiest sites to visit. In the afternoon, we head out to the Lizard Peninsula in search of more migrants. Church Cove is a pleasant little valley where we hope for more Black Redstart, warblers and flycatchers. Raptors could include Merlin and Hen Harrier and there are sometimes small parties of Brent Geese seen.  Notable rarities on the Lizard have been Melodious Warbler, Golden Oriole, Greenish Warbler, Cattle Egret, Red-backed, Brown and Woodchat Shrikes, and Upland Sandpiper.
In the morning, we take time to watch the sea at Pendeen, where if conditions are suitable seabirds can pass in large numbers. Many a spectacular day has been had at this site by the small band of regular watchers, who are usually only too happy to point birds out. At this time we can hope for all four skuas, as well as a variety of divers, auks, sea duck, Sooty and Mediterranean Shearwaters, Little and Sabine’s Gulls, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Grey Phalarope. Black Redstart and the occasional Snow Bunting can also put in an appearance here. If, as on some recent tours, the weather does not prove conducive to sea watching, we will re-visit the most productive sites, where hopefully new birds will have arrived. We have caught up with many additional species by doing this. We conclude our holiday at approximately midday to allow time for the onward journey home.


Additional Information



Bosavern House Guest House offers fine quality four star bed and breakfast accommodation on the dramatic Lands End peninsula in Cornwall. Close to the historic mining town of St Just and only a few miles from the seaside town of Penzance, it makes the ideal base for exploring Lands End and its beautiful surrounding areas.Dating back to the 17th century Bosavern House is a spacious country guest house set in mature gardens, on the side of the picturesque Cot Valley. This is the perfect place to relax from the moment you arrive. As you step into this comfortable country family home, you cannot fail to notice its warmth and tranquillity. Our welcoming lounge is a peaceful place to unwind, whilst the delightfully furnished bedrooms are equipped with all the little luxuries and extra personal touches to help make your stay special.

Six nights en suite accommodation, meals from dinner on day one to lunch on final day, transport, services of leader and reserve entrance fees.
Travel to/ from Cornwall, travel insurance, drinks, lunch on day one and items of a purely personal nature.


Tour Reports


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" Everything about the tour was hugely enjoyable. This was an excellent tour made particularly wonderful by the tour leaders Neil & John, the rest of the group, the hotel, the weather, the scenery and last but not least the birds. We enjoyed it so much, we've booked again for 2011! ! " C & S C Darlington


Everything was perfect - thank you for a wonderful time" W. D. Herefordshire.

“Great birds, good company and scenery.” H & H. R. Hampshire.

“Many thanks for last week Neil. Great fun, I really enjoyed it. A good bunch of chaps, some good birds, good laughs and as always the Mounthaven was an excellent base” D. T. Sussex.

“Can I just say how much I enjoyed last week; good company, good food and good birds – nothing much else needs to be said” R. H. Leicester.

“Superb birding and high quality accommodation” R. W. Devon

“I really enjoyed the scenery, the birding and the company. The weather and accommodation were excellent too” L. T. Dorset.

“Yet another fantastic holiday with you – great birds and good company” A. D. Edinburgh.

“Great fun from start to finish” J. S. Devon

“The weather was wild just as you’d expect, but the birding and the Laughing Gulls, Franklin’s Gull, Leach’s Petrels and Grey Phalaropes were brilliant. John was also a really nice guy”S. M. Oxford.


" I really enjoyed being with a small, friendly group - it made for a much better experience. It also lends itself to more flexibility as we were able to make decisions quickly to alter the schedule if necessary. Although most of the party knew each other or were return visitors, I was not made to feel outside the group. A jolly week with the benefit of some great birds and the accommodation was superior to what was expected too - Many Thanks Neil! T.C. Bristol


" Always interesting tours with knowledgeable guides and good logistics" J B Sussex


" Thank you Neil for arraning and leading this holiday - it included everything I had hoped for; good birds, good company, good accommodation and good food. I had such a good time, I've already booked again for next year " A.W. Devon


" Many thanks for a smashing week with lovely food, good company & best of all; some great birds!!" H & H R Portsmouth


" Dear Neil - thank you for your birding leadership and good humour throughout the week which I thought was great value" J B Devon


"Dear Neil - thank you for giving me a memorable experience and the very thorough report from a fabulous week. Thank you also for being a great leader, diligent, hard working, always concerned about our experience and how you could make it better. I learned a huge amount from you. I also appreciate how you and the others made me feel so welcome as a first time Oriole Birding traveller and the only one from the USA".  S P Maryland USA