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RSPB Hayle Estuary

Cornwall  >  United Kingdom

Hayle Estuary is the most south-westerly estuary in the UK and it never freezes, making it a haven for gulls, waders and wildfowl in winter.

Added* by Jalal Khan
Most recent update 13 January 2024

Description

Winter is the best time to visit Hayle, as the number of birds in the estuary can be up to 18,000. Among the gull flocks, you can find Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull or even an American vagrant like a Ring-billed Gull. American Common Teal and American Wigeon can also be seen among the thousands of native teals and Eurasian Wigeon. In autumn and winter, among the more common waders, including many European Golden Plover, there could be Spotted Redshank, Spoonbill, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff or an American wader like a Pectoral Sandpiper. Several different tern species can be seen on spring passage. The estuary is best viewed from the causeway bridge or the path around Carnsew Pool, which is favoured by Goosander and Red-breasted Merganser. All five of the world's diver species have also been seen there. The area is also good for Common Kingfisher and it's worth visiting the hide at Ryan's field for a chance to see one as well as the resident Eurasian Curlew. In late summer, you may see an Osprey visiting the estuary if you're very lucky.

Details

Access

By road - From the town of Hayle, go west on the B3301 Carnsew Road along the estuary, then turn left onto Chenalls Road (signposted St Erth) and take the first right into the car park at Ryan's Field. From there, you can visit the hide and walk to the causeway bridge and Carnsew pool.

Terrain and Habitat

Wetland , Grassland , Mud flats , City/village , Reedbeds , River

Conditions

Flat , Open landscape

Circular trail

Yes

Is a telescope useful?

Can be useful

Good birding season

Winter , Autumn , Spring

Best time to visit

Winter

Route

Paved road , Narrow trail , Wide path , Unpaved road

Difficulty walking trail

Easy

Accessible by

Foot

Birdwatching hide / platform

Yes

Links

View other birding spots in the area that are published on Birdingplaces

Map

Top 5 birds

Other birds you can see here

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