The Rame Peninsula is a stunningly unspoilt and overlooked corner of East Cornwall that offers up a great selection of native and rare birds.
A very rewarding circular walk runs from Rame Church (where there is unofficial parking) to Rame Head and back via Polhwan Cove and Whitsand Bay. Alternatively you can park at Penlee Battery (now a Cornwall Wildlife Trust reserve with an impressive bird list) and walk the much shorter distance from there to the sea. If you decide to walk, it is worth having a peek around the bushes in the churchyard before you set off, as they occasionally yield a rarity.
In 1999, for example, a Red-Flanked Bluetail took up residence here for over a week, only to be joined by a Chimney Swift! Quickly check the lane past Rame Barton, where Wilson's, Yellow-Browed and Pallas Warblers have all been seen in the trees, before branching left to follow the military road, signposted Penlee Battery. This area is great for Raptors, especially in Autumn, with Hobby, Merlin, Peregrine, Hen and Marsh Harrier and Short-Eared Owls all passing through, as well as Short-Toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Ortolan Bunting, Woodchat Strike, Turtle Dove, Little Owl and Corncrake.
Penlee Battery is an absolutely excellent site, where most of the common migrants and natives can be found and past rarities include Roller, Hoopoe and Golden Oriole. Following the coast path down to Rame Head look out for Ravens and Peregrines circling the cliffs, with Gannets, Gulls, Fulmar and Manx Shearwater further out to sea.
Polhawn Cove is particularly worth checking in a southerly or easterly wind, where Ring Ouzel, Stonechat, Yellowhammer and Dartford Warbler (returning after a 15 year absence) are all regular visitors.
Rame Peninsula lies within easy reach of Plymouth, jutting out into the sea in the easternmost corner of Cornwall. Unspoilt and under-watched this is the perfect place for an off-the-beaten track birding experience.