When you next visit Cornwall, whatever the time of year, why not indulge in a touch of wildlife watching? Cornwall boasts an extraordinary diversity of outstanding and unique marine wildlife which can be seen all year round from the coast or (even better!) on the water. With no two days ever the same and climate change always surprising us, you never know what you will record next… that’s the joy! Up to 8 different species of cetaceans can be found in the rich waters surrounding Cornwall’s spectacular rugged coastline, with humpback whales returning every year in increasing numbers.
The wonderful shelter afforded by the Lizard Peninsula makes Falmouth Bay in particular, rich in marine wildlife throughout the whole 12 months. Many thousands of cetaceans are recorded, enjoyed and shared each year by members of the public and dedicated sea watchers and tour operators, with species such as the inquisitive and playful common dolphins and the tiny harbour porpoises being observed on a frequent basis.
Sightings to look out for along the coast include basking sharks, these gentle giants are the world’s second largest fish and feed on microscopic plankton on the ocean’s surface, as well as Cornwall’s resident pod of bottlenose dolphins. Oceanic sunfish, the heaviest bony fish in the world, (and one of the most bizarre looking creatures!) can be seen floating on the sea’s surface waving their dorsal fin, as well as the occasional leatherback turtle, both of which visit our waters to feed on the high number of jellyfish which swarm our coast in the warmer months. Grey seals can be seen anywhere along the coastline ‘bottling’ and playing in the surf or hauled out on beaches during the winter months and their pupping season.
You can also expect to see a whole host of impressive bird life, don’t forget to bring your binoculars! You can witness the fastest animal in the world, the peregrine falcon, hunt along the coast with such precision and agility to feed its chicks; and a close relative of the albatross, the fulmar, glide effortlessly on their stiff wings through stormy seas. From puffins, guillemots and razorbills, to divers, shearwaters and skuas, there are always birds to find, whether they’re hidden on a cliff face, far out at sea or right up one of Cornwall’s beautifully vast and diverse river creeks, such as the Fal Estuary, the third deepest natural harbour in the world.
Herons, grebes and kingfishers can regularly be seen immersed among the wooded banks as well as ospreys during their migrations south. Whilst many of the seabirds can be observed from the coast, being on the water provides a whole new dimension of bird watching, particularly for one of nature’s spectacular events, feeding frenzies of hundreds of Europe’s largest seabird, the gannet, plunging into the water like missiles.
This blog was provided by AK Wildlife Cruises, based in Falmouth, and they are one such dedicated wildlife tour operator which always thrives to deliver exciting and educational wildlife cruises for everybody that comes on board. They are delighted to have been awarded the ‘Best Wildlife & Sightseeing Tours – South West England’ in the LUX 2020 Travel & Tourism Awards as they love nothing more than sharing their knowledge and passion for the outstanding wildlife we are privileged to have on our doorstep. They work closely with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, MARINElife and other highly regarded conservation groups, raising awareness and collecting and gathering hard data on all species they encounter.”