Sea Birds

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The cliffs and stacks along the coast from St.Agnes Head to Cligga Head, between St.Agnes and Perranporth, Fumar returning to our cliffs to breedprovide a nesting area for 9 species of seabird as well as feeding areas for several more. Great and lesser black back gulls breed in small numbers along with more herring gulls but our kittiwake colony ,which at 900 pairs was the largest in Cornwall, left and moved to Newquay en masse in the late 1980’s. They are apparently fickle on colony sites and will do this but we hope they will return one day. Razorbill and guillemot numbers seem fairly stable at present and we sometimes see a puffin or two around Bawden Rocks. Shags breed in good numbers and are present year round along with one or two pairs of cormorants. Fulmars are now quite common and are a recent success story as they only first bred here in 1953. Oystercatchers also breed in a couple of sites along the coast.

Gannets are a common site flying down the coast all year from their closest breeding sites off West Wales and can Gannet (Morus bassanus)sometimes put on a spectacular show with hundreds of them plunge diving  into fish shoals, more especially in the winter months. Manx shearwaters are also seen in summer passing down the coast on their way to feeding grounds in the Bay of Biscay from their colonies on  Skokholm and Skomer, off Pembrokeshire, and may sometimes form dense feeding flocks. Rarer shearwaters and skuas may also be seen from the headlands particularly in the autumn with strong onshore winds

RazorbillBlack-headed gulls are a feature of winter around the beach and mixed in with them and the herring gulls you may find occasional unusual species like the (inappropriately named) common gull or more unusual visitors from the north like glaucous or iceland gulls.

Rafts of guillemots and razorbills may be seen loafing on the water around their ledges on fine days in Feb and March and then spring is returning when you start to see sandwich terns around the beaches for a few days in April as they return form Africa but only spend a few days locally before passing onto their colonies further north.

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