Winter Wildlife to Look Out For in Cornwall

January 07th, 2019

With plenty of impressive landscapes to enjoy in Cornwall, from valleys and woodlands to sandy stretches and steep cliffs, it may come as no surprise that the coastal county is also a haven for a wide variety of exciting wildlife. Head out with a camera and a pair of binoculars if you are set on spotting a particular creature that calls Cornwall their home, or embark on an exciting winter stroll and simply enjoy seeing what you can find. Our guide to Cornish winter wildlife will help you to discover some of the birds and animals you may see in the colder months of the year.



Estuaries and Rivers

With the Camel, Hayle and Gannel Rivers on the North coast and the Fal, Fowey, Helford and Tamar on the South, there are plenty of watery spots fit for wading birds in Cornwall. With milder weather in Cornwall, many birds, including herons, ducks, egrets and geese will remain by these rivers throughout the winter months, enjoying the saltmarshes and mudflats that accompany these estuaries. The Fal estuary also becomes home to a large number of migrating grebes in the winter months.


grey seal

Out At Sea

Even in the winter months, the waters surrounding Cornwall will be packed full of exciting marine life. Pods of common dolphins will regularly be spotted swimming around the coast, with some pods made up of hundreds of dolphins! You might also catch a glimpse of a whale when observing the seas from a cliff or on a boat, with fin whales being one of the largest types to be spotted during the winter months. On the beaches, you may see seals coming up to shore to rest – and in the later winter months, grey seals will return to land to moult. If you do spot seals on the beach or at the harbour, it is advised to stay back from them.




High on the hills in the moorland of Bodmin, you are bound to spot birds of prey circling the skies. Buzzards are quite commonly spotted during the winter months, with the hen harrier being a rarer treat to spot. Over on Goss Moor, you may spot red and roe deer roaming freely.


Roe deer


Nestled into the bare branches of wintery woodland trees you are likely to spot a number of smaller birds, such as finches and tits, as well as an assortment of larger birds, including nuthatches and woodpeckers. Grey squirrels will commonly be seen at this time of year when out foraging for nuts. Larger animals, including badgers, deer, otters and foxes are also not uncommon sightings during the winter months. Take advantage of the bare trees and lower levels of foliage as they will allow you to get a better glimpse of roe deer and red deer, which can both be found in Cornwall.


If you would like to explore the Cornish countryside and have a look out for some of these birds and animals, then why not stay at one of our 5-star cottages in Cornwall?! Ideally located for exploring the coast, woodlands and moors of Cornwall, The Valley is also nestled into thirteen acres of woodland of its own, which is perfect for exploring – just don’t forget to wrap up warm!