Tour At A Glance





Single Room Supplement:


Tour Code:

Intermediate with flexible finish times. Up to 3 miles walking per day

Group Size:

Five plus Leaders

Black-necked Grebe Purple Sandpiper Pacific Diver Iceland Gull

Cornwall - Late Winter in the West Country

Date: Tour not currently operating
Leaders: Ashley Saunders



Travel to Cornwall and check in at our hotel. Our first stop will be a leisurely look at Swan Pool, where good numbers of gulls congregate before going to roost and this may include Mediterranean or Iceland Gull. Small numbers of Tufted Duck, Common Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe should be present, while Water Rail may also be possible. The surrounding vegetation will be checked for wintering passerines that hopefully will include Common Chiffchaff, Firecrest and Blackcap, while resident species such as Bullfinch, Eurasian Jay and Green Woodpecker are also present. A Black Redstart and Rock Pipit may be present on the seafront anywhere along this stretch of coastline.
Following breakfast, we head west stopping wherever tides and birds dictate. It is likely that we will visit Newlyn Harbour, Drift Resrevoir, Hayle Estuary, Gwithian Sands and Penzance Seafront. Our target birds will include Iceland, Glaucous and Mediterranean Gulls, Rock and Water Pipit, European Shag and following the recent invasion, a chance of a Cattle Egret or two. Shorebirds should include Bar-tailed Godwit, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Grey Plover, European Golden Plover and Little Egret, while recent years have seen rarities such as Pied Avocet, Long-billed Dowitcher, Pacific Diver, Snowy Owl and Spotted Sandpiper. We may also encounter our first divers of the tour, with Red-throated and Great Northern most likely here. Common wildfowl such as Common Teal and Eurasian Wigeon are present in good numbers, whilst it would not be unexpected for a Green-winged Teal or American Wigeon to be present and Ring-necked Duck and Lesser Scaup have also been recorded on a few occasions. We will also check nearby Marazion Marsh for Cetti’s Warbler, Common Kingfisher, Water Rail and hopefully a Jack Snipe or even a Great Bittern.
Today , we will explore the extensive network of channels, creeks and vast bays of the Fal Estuary complex at sites such as Loe Beach, Pendower, Pennarrow Point, Portscatho and Rosevine, collectively known as Gerrans Bay and The Carrick Roads both on land and from a boat hired exclusively for our use. These deep waters are reliable homes to sea duck, grebes and divers, some of which may already be in smart breeding dress. Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes can be present in good numbers while Red-breasted Merganser is particularly numerous at these locations. Divers are a key feature, and this is an excellent area for Black-throated and Great Northern, with Red-throated being the rarest of the three! Red-necked and Great Crested Grebe also occur in very small numbers most years, while it would not be totally unexpected to encounter a Common Eider, Common Scoter or Long-tailed Duck. Northern Gannet, Northern Fulmar and small parties of Common Guillemot and Razorbill are also likely while scanning offshore and there is an outside chance of encountering a Black Guillemot here. Shorebirds, egrets and herons roost on the river banks at high tide and a wintering Eurasian Spoonbill could be encountered somewhere in the complex. Hopefully our river cruise will not only offer a relaxing experience with excellent views of the surrounding countryside, but will allow us to obtain close views of some of the aforementioned species.
We will spend the remainder of the tour birding at nearby Stithians Reservoir and Helston Water Treatment works, where wildfowl should include Common Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe and Gadwall. Scarcer Cornish species such as Goosander, Long-tailed Duck and Greater Scaup may also be possible. Scarcer gulls may include Mediterranean or perhaps even a Ring-billed Gull, while Northern Lapwing, Common Snipe, Common Raven, Little Egret and Peregrine should all be present. Over wintering passerines could feature with Common Chiffchaff, Firecrest and Yellow-browed Warbler possible among the commoner resident species and Siberian Chiffchaff and Blackcap have also been recorded on previous tours. We depart at lunchtime and will stop en route wherever there may be something of interest, which has included Little Bunting, Lesser Scaup, Eurasian Spoonbill, Surf Scoter and Long-billed Dowitcher on previous tours. We conclude the tour mid afternoon to allow for the onward journey home.


Additional Information


A fully licensed hotel centrally located in Falmouth with in house swimming pool and health suite. All rooms are en suite and the restaurant has an excellent reputation. It may be possible for a supplement [payable locally]  to upgrade your room to a suite or four poster bedroom. There is off road parking and use of the pool and health spa is included in your tour cost.
Three nights en suite accommodation, meals from dinner on day one to lunch on final day, transport, services of leaders, river cruise and reserve entrance fees.
Travel to/ from Cornwall, travel insurance, drinks, lunch on day one and items of a purely personal nature.
Binoculars, telescope [essential], clothing for all weathers, small rucksack, field guide, alarm clock and walking boots.


Tour Reports


2009  2010  2011




"Thank you so much for the wonderful days in Cornwall. I shall never forget that Snowy Owl - totally unbelievable" W. D. Herefordshire


"The guides were knowledgeable and helpful and I enjoyed the whole trip due to the friendly atmosphere" R. H. Leicester


"The boat trip was excellent, the tour information was useful and informative and the driving was safe: all in all I enjoyed the tour very much" J. B. Oxford

" Very enjoyable and an excellent all round package with great birds, company and accommodation" M & F S Leicester


" It was my intention to drop you a line on returning from Cornwall, but some how I did not quite get round to it !!   I thought it was an excellent action packed few days and "super Tuesday" was a knockout  in terms of birds seen. The cruise on the
Fal was most enjoyable even if the volume of birds was a little on the light side. Because of your previous comments the hotel exceded my expectations and I thought the food was good" D T Sussex


" Another excellent trip - it went too quickly. As ever, the leaders were superb and I already look forward to the next one" J B. Yorks


"Just a quick note to say thank you very much for a highly successful and enjoyable trip. Despite the poor weather you enabled us to see  a very satisfying range of birds. Thanks in particular for changing plans so that we saw the splendid Lesser Scaup" A F Hants.


" Thanks for another good holiday. Some of my favourite birds in some of my favourite places" L T Dorset


" Thanks for the trip. Thoroughly enjoyed it all " D O Cheltenham


" I really enjoyed the small group, comfortable transport, and of course, the excellent birding" R W Devon