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Five of the best

By West Briton  |  Posted: January 10, 2013

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WHATEVER time of year, Cornwall thrives with an abundance of wildlife, you just have to know where to spot it. We've teamed up with Cornwall Wildlife Trust to put you in the know.

Tamar Estuary Nature Reserve – birds

Numbers of wintering wading birds in Cornwall reach their peak during January as thousands of birds from around Europe arrive on our shores to take advantage of the rich pickings to be found on our mudlflats, saltmarshes and estuaries. Take a trip to the Tamar Estuary Nature Reserve near Landulph in south east Cornwall where you might be lucky enough to see part of the avocet flock which winters on the Tamar. These elegant black and white birds can often be seen wading through shallow water, shaking their curiously up-turned bills from side to side, sieving the water for the invertebrates they feed on.


Cabilla and Redrice Woods Nature Reserve – deer

This is a good time of year to see roe deer at the Cabilla and Redrice Woods Nature Reserve near Bodmin. These attractive small deer are thriving again thanks to an increase in woodland planting and successful reintroductions from their stronghold in Scotland. Best looked for at dawn and dusk, these normally shy, solitary animals can be found in small groups at this time of year in their pale grey/brown winter coats; however they maintain their distinctive black muzzle and white rump patch all the year round.


Five Acres Nature Reserve – robins

Despite it being midwinter some creatures will already be thinking about the spring and their next breeding season. Robins pair up at this time of the year and despite their friendly reputation they can be aggressively territorial and are quick to drive away any intruders. They can be found on many of Cornwall Wildlife Trust's nature reserves, in particular around the headquarters at Five Acres Nature Reserve, near Truro. Watch robins closely and you will often see squabbles break out between males as they fight to keep hold of their female.


Prideaux Wood Nature Reserve – foxes

This is also the time when red foxes mate; keep an ear out for their barking at night since this is the period when fights and vocalisations are at their most frequent. During the mating season, pairs are often seen together since the male follows the female closely. Foxes hold territories, the size of which depends on habitat; they can be as small as 0.2 square kilometres in urban areas, or up to 40 square kilometres in the wider countryside. Each territory is occupied by a dog fox and vixen – and their cubs. However, in areas where foxes are not persecuted and where there is plenty of food, a family may contain several adults.


Hawkes Wood Nature Reserve – ladybirds

Many insects will now be safely tucked away somewhere warm for the winter; however ladybirds (more properly ladybugs) can sometimes be found in their thousands in suitable places – garden sheds are often a favourite. You might also look for them at any of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust nature reserves such as Hawkes Wood Nature Reserve near Wadebridge.


For more info visit cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk and www.visitcornwall.com

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