Winter Wildlife Watch

Cornwall Wildlife Trust's guide to what to spot this winter in and around the county, from wading birds to seals..

Birds to spot in Cornwall

Numbers of wintering wading birds in Cornwall reach their peak during January as thousands of birds from around Europe arrive on our shores to take advantage of the rich pickings to be found on our mudlflats, saltmarshes and estuaries. Perhaps take a trip to our Tamar Estuary Nature Reserve near Landulph in south east Cornwall where you might be lucky enough to see part of the avocet flock which winters on the Tamar. These elegant black and white birds can often be seen wading through shallow water, shaking their curiously up-turned bills from side to side, sieving the water for the invertebrates which they feed on.

Roe deer to spot in Cornwall

This is a good time of year to see roe deer in Cornwall, perhaps at our Cabilla and Redrice Woods Nature Reserve near Bodmin. These attractive small deer were at one time extinct in the wild in England but are now thriving once again thanks to an increase in woodland planting and successful reintroductions from their stronghold in Scotland. Best looked for at dawn and dusk, these normally shy, solitary animals can be found in small groups at this time of year in their pale grey/brown winter coats; however they maintain their distinctive black muzzle and white rump patch all the year round.

Flowers to spot in Cornwall

The first snowdrops will appear this month, and they are often regarded as the first flower of spring, you’ll find them in our Cabilla and Redrice Woods Nature Reserve between Bodmin and Liskeard. A member of the daffodil family, there is some uncertainty as to whether snowdrops are native to Britain or not, but they have certainly become naturalised in Cornwall. They grow freely in the wild; but also, all 'wild' snowdrops seem to be garden escapees. Indeed, if you find snowdrops growing wild in the middle of a wood, you can be almost certain that there was once a human dwelling nearby.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is the leading local charity working to protect Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places, on land and at sea. If you love Cornwall’s wildlife you can help them protect it by joining as a member, visit Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

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