Birdwatching - The Lizard

By . Last updated

View across Housel Bay
View to the Lizard

The Lizard Peninsula, with the sea on three sides and the Helford River to the north, is an ecological microcosm and home to one of Britain's rarest breeding birds, the Cornish Chough.
A species of crow with distinctive red beak and legs and a haunting 'chee-aw' call, the Chough began breeding here in 2002 after a long absence and a concerted effort by local conservationists.

Considered by many to be a little different from the rest of Cornwall, the Lizard peninsula, which has the warmest average climate in the country, is a remote and unspoilt place consisting mostly of gentle heath and coastal grassland. Abounding in SSSIs, the peninsula is home to several nature reserves such as the huge Windmill Farm, managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, with raised walkways and bird hides overlooking pools, and Goonhilly Downs, where the flat heathland attracts birds of prey such as Buzzards, Hen Harriers and Owls.

Goonhilly Downs
Goonhilly Downs

Lizard Point, the most southerly point on mainland Britain, attracts a great variety of bird life, both resident and passage. The Common Scoter and Puffin pass through in Summer, with Wheatear, Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail appearing in September.
Firecrests and Redstarts start arriving in early Spring, soon to be followed by Chiffchaff, Short-Eared Owl, Whitethroat and Spotted Flycatcher. In winter look out for Great Northern Divers, Guillemot, Razorbill, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Merlin and Purple Sandpiper.

Much of The Lizard is protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or owned by the National Trust as part of their coastal preservation project. The A3083 runs from Helston to Lizard Point.