Birdwatching - St Ives Island

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Man's Head and the Island - St ives
The Island - St ives

St Ives Island, jutting out into the sea between the harbour and Porthmeor Beach, is thought by some to be the one of the best autumn sea watching sites in Europe, especially when strong northerly or north-westerly winds trap birds in the confines of St Ives Bay. Like many of Cornwall's jutting peninsulas, the Island, which is not really an island at all but a ancient promontory fort, provides a useful stopping-off point for migratory birds, including some rare and unusual species.

Some of the more common or resident birds include Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Razorbill, Guillemot and the occasional Puffin, while during spring and autumn you may be lucky enough to see, among others, Grey Phalarope, Black or Sandwich Tern, Sabine's Gull, Balearic Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Great Skua or even Yelkouan Skua.

The rocks of the island are home to Rock Pipits, while Wheatears live in the short grass and Buzzards and Kestrels wheel overhead.

Access is via an obvious footpath and there is an all-day car park close by. A coastguard lookout provides an excellent vantage point with spectacular views.