Where to find birds on The Lizard in late winter/early spring

First published on the website in 2016, this article by Dougy Wright (Warden of Windmill Farm Nature Reserve) explains where best to go on The Lizard to see birds in the later winter and early spring.

As with much of the natural world, birds are starting to come to life, as winter slowly eases into early spring. For those that like to get out and about at this time of year, this article describes a few good areas on The Lizard to see birds in this season. I will start with location a little north of The Lizard (but hey ho, it is a great walk and a good place to see birds easily).


Chiffchaff Bittern

Loe Pool (SW 647250)

The best place to park is opposite the boating lake in the Penrose Amenity Area Car Park. The circular walk around the perimeter (from the car park) is just over six miles and it is a fairly easy walk, but can be muddy in places. Start at the water works where you will see Chiffchaff – this is a great place to familiarise yourself with this lovely little species. You may also see Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest, Firecrest and Siskin. Birds to look out for on the circular walk around the Pool are Bittern, Grey Heron, various duck species, including Red Breasted Merganser, many species of Gull, Water Rail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher and many more. If you are unfamiliar with any of the species it is worth taking a field guide with you. 

Stonechat Male Stonechat Female
Stonechat male Stonechat female

Church Cove – The Lizard (SW 712127)

This is a little gem and always worth a visit. Park by the church and stroll down the valley through the wooded area and down onto the cliffs and coastal footpath. In the trees there are often Chiffchaff, Goldcrests and Firecrests, Blackcaps and often occasionally rarer birds, such as Yellow-browed Warblers. At the bottom of the valley you can turn left or right: a nice walk is to turn right and follow the coastal path to The Lizard Point. You can then return to your car by walking through the village (grabbing an ice cream and/or pasty on the way). Along the coast path keep an eye out for Chough, Peregrine, Raven, Stonechat and, in early Spring, the lovely Wheatear. If you are really lucky you may see a Hoopoe: these start passing through in mid-late March.

Caerthillian Cove (SW 695126)

Another valley worth checking is Caerthillian Cove. Park at the Lizard’s village green and head west past the toilets. This again is a lovely walk through a sheltered valley. Lots of birds turn up here and it is a great site to see and hear “Cornish” Choughs; these breed nearby. Other birds to look out for are Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard and occasionally Merlin.

Marsh Harrier Wheatear
Marsh Harrier Wheatear

Windmill Farm National Nature Reserve (SW 694 153)

To find Windmill Farm follow the A3083 Lizard road (from Helston). A mile and a half past the turning for Mullion look out for a sign that says “Wild Camping” on the right hand side, and follow the lane down to the Farm. This is a great place to explore and is good for Redwing, Fieldfare, Short-eared Owl, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier in winter and Sand Martin, Swallows, Wheatear, Cuckoos and Black Redstarts will be moving through soon.



Wherever you are in the next few weeks keep your eyes and ears open – this is a good time for early migrants such as Cuckoo, Swallow, Sand Martin and Hoopoe.

Other sites worth a visit are:

Kynance Cove (SW 686137)
Croft Pascoe Woods and Pascoe Pool; Goonhilly Downs (SW 732198)
Soapy Cove (SW 678192)
Predannack Head (SW 660163)


First published in March 2016
Author: Dougy Wright