Nature walking is a year-round activity, whatever the season, and December is a great month for visiting “Wildlife hotspots” on the Roseland, even in the cooler weather. By David Hall.
The waters around us are full of interesting visitors including Dolphins, Porpoises, the occasional Whale and Blue Fin Tuna in the far off-shore area from Kiberick Cove towards St Anthony Head, and then across towards the Manacles and the Lizard.
If you are very lucky you may see Peregrine or Chough, near the cliffs, from the coastal footpath between St Anthony’s Lighthouse and Nare Head. Great Northern and Blackthroated Diver numbers increase in Gerrans Bay, and towards Gull Rock; in late afternoon, Great Blackbacked Gulls, Blackheaded Gulls, Herring Gulls and Mediterranean Gulls move in flight lines to roost.
Meanwhile, at mid-tide, Atlantic Grey Seals haul out, possibly with youngsters, at the Killigerran Head end of Towan Beach. Some may appear at St Just Bar and, on the water between there and Mylor, Black Necked Grebes gather and dive in groups in the Carrick Roads, occasionally with Redbreasted Mergansers.
Further up-river, at Ruan Lanihorne, the spectacle of a rising Spring tide brings significant numbers of wintering Curlew, Blacktailed godwit (shown left), Lapwing, Golden plover, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin and Common sandpiper ever closer to the Old Quay below Sett Bridge, where they accompany the Mute Swans, numerous Canada Geese, Wigeon, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, occasional Little Grebe and passing Kingfisher.
A woodland walk on a sunny day in December is fascinating, especially at Messack, Turnaware, Towan to Bohortha via Percuil, and on the walk from Pendower up to Melinsey Mill. The bare-
leaved trees now allow light to penetrate, revealing old nests, Squirrel dreys, Fungi, Wood Ant mounds, Badger setts and perhaps, Roe deer prints, while overhead Longtailed tits or Goldcrests can be heard.
If there are stubble fields near you, look and listen for Skylark and bouncing flocks of Linnet and Chaffinch searching for seeds. The cliff fields near Porthbeor are usually ideal for this.
Wherever you are don’t forget to listen for the sounds of wildlife. At dusk and into the night you will hear, in December, Foxes’ high pitched barking, territorial Tawny Owls calling and Redwings “seeping” as they move through the night sky.
Finally, don’t miss our next Nature talk. Carol Williams of the Cornwall Bat Group will give a presentation on “Entering the world of Bats in Cornwall”.
Upcoming Wild Roseland Walks and Talks – dates for your diary
Note that all events are free but a small donation of £3 would be welcomed.
Entering the World of Bats
A Presentation by Carol Williams from the Cornwall Bat Group.
Thursday 14th December 2017, 7pm
St Mawes Millennium Rooms.
Edited by Sarah E Vandome
Carol Hughes, Nick Coppin, David Hall, Sarah Vandome
Edited by Sarah Vandome.
References and links
Enjoy more Roseland wildlife and landscapes – visit Sarah Vandome’s Heart of Roseland Facebook feature:
Wild Roseland is on Facebook.
Wild Roseland is a group of volunteers who care passionately about looking after the nature and landscape of the Roseland peninsula in south Cornwall. Through a number of initiatives and projects, the aim is to inspire and enhance the conservation of this special place for all.