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About this site

Welcome to ‘Birds of the Lizard’. Here you will find a complete account of all bird species recorded on the Lizard Peninsula. The Lizard Peninsula is the most southerly part of the UK mainland. Aside from being exceptionally scenic, it gets some good species. Spring overshoots such as Subalpine Warbler and Woodchat are almost annual on the patch and in autumn birds come from all directions. Brown Shrike, Bufflehead, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Rufous Bush Chat, Brown Booby and Black-browed Albatross have turned up in the last few years. Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Red-billed Tropicbird, Roller, Little Bustard and Black-and-white Warbler have all turned up in years gone by. Nonetheless, like any area, it can be a slog. Natural diversity is low making for hard birding when conditions are wrong, and there are few open water bodies and little tree cover in the south. As such, it can be surprisingly difficult to see some of the commoner species, but with concerted effort, scarcities, and even rarities, are fairly easy to come by.


Good seawatching is also one of the benefits of the patch. While not as well known as Porthgwarra and Pendeen, on its day, usually when southerly winds prevail, it can fair almost as well. Relative to other migration hotspots, it is surprisingly under-watched. Only half a dozen birders cover the patch with any regularity, and even fewer put in serious hours. Nonetheless, I owe a debt of gratitude to my fellow patch-birders and this site is dedicated to them.


The area covered is predominantly the Lizard Peninsula in a rough line from Porthleven to the Helford River. However, for general interest information on birds that occur just outside the area have also been included. I have taken a fairly liberal attitude to the inclusion of records and not all have been accepted by the relevant rarities committees. However, this is with good reason. In many instances these records simply weren’t submitted, so it is not usually the case that a non-accepted records were rejected. That is just the nature of birdwatching in the deep-south. Most do so for their own enjoyment and the need for peer-approval doesn’t feature high on their list of priorities. I pass no judgement on this, nor do I wish to make judgement on records, most of which I didn’t see. Moreover, it would just be boring to include the accepted records, as these are well-known about in any case. Nevertheless, where there is justified cause for doubt I have indicated so.


Where possible I have also given some history and background to records have gone to quite considerable effort to delve into historic literature. The accounts are compiled from bird reports dating back to 1931, Penhallurick’s ‘The Birds of Cornwall’ and ‘The Birds if the Cornish Coast’, Cave’s ‘A Lizard bird diary’, a variety of older texts detailed in the section on the history of ornithology, and from first-hand accounts from the Lizard current and recent birding fraternity, often relayed via the local WhatsApp group. Nevertheless, the list is probabkly not complete and additional records are welcome. Photographs are also welcome.


Ilya Maclean

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