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As the weather is warming up and spring is starting to show, it is the perfect time to get outdoors and spot the local wildlife. Cornwall has remained relatively untouched by people, so there are loads of places to discover wildlife, and you don't even need to look that hard!

Orange tip butterfly in Cornwall in spring

When you have booked our hotel in Fowey, a walk in the local area, around the Fowey Estuary and woods and along the South West Coast Path east towards Polperro, you are sure to come across much of the local wildlife; here is what to watch out for:


When you start seeing butterflies, you know the fair weather has arrived. In April, there are several species to look for, though three stand out. The orange-tip can be seen from April to June in meadows, riverbanks and roadside verges. Less common is the green hairstreak, whose underside is a vivid green with white spots, though the dull brown upperside can make them harder to recognise. Males can be spotted around low bushes in various habitats. The brimstone butterfly is considered a springtime butterfly but can be spotted any month of the year. Other species you will be able to see include comma and tortoiseshell.


Hearing a cuckoo is often considered to be one of the signs of spring, though sadly it is becoming rarer. The birds arrive in spring when it is most common to hear their distinctive "cuckoo" call, before the adults leave in June or July, almost as soon as they have laid their eggs, as they are 'brood parasites' - laying their eggs in other birds' nests. Cuckoos are the size of a collared dove with blue-grey feathers, sometimes with red-brown heads and striped grey and white undersides. They have long tails and pointed wings, giving them a hawk-like shape when flying, and their habitats are open areas like meadows and fields.

Common Lizard

Common lizard in Cornwall in spring

In Cornwall's woodlands, grasslands, coastal dunes and verges you might be lucky to see a common lizard, especially those that are south facing and get a lot of sun. April is when they begin to emerge from hibernation to feed on spiders, snails, insects and earthworms. They bask in the warmth of the sun, though dash into the safety of the undergrowth at any disturbance. However, if you are patient, chances are they will return to the same spot soon afterwards. The common lizard varies in colour, though usually is brownish-grey with darker stripes down the back.

Song Thrush

The longer evenings of spring are perfect for listening out for songbirds, such as song thrushes. The bird is found in parks, gardens, woodland and scrubland. It is widespread in Britain, and its song is loud with repeating phrases. The brown bird has a white stomach with dark spots to identify it. Other songbirds that are commonly heard in April and throughout spring include mistle thrushes, blackbirds, redwings and nightingales.


Large red damselfly in Cornwall in spring

The large red damselfly is usually the first dragonfly or damselfly you will see in April around ponds and wetlands where there is standing water. It is also a common visitor to gardens, so you are sure to see some in Cornwall's best gardens. The males are a stunning red colour, with a black thorax and you can spot several together when the double-figure temperatures are a constant. Other damselflies such as the red-eyed damselfly and common blue damselfly won't be seen flying about until the end of May and throughout the summer.

Grey Seal

Spring also means a return of various marine wildlife, with one of the most common sightings being the grey seal. The waters around Looe, along the coast from Fowey, are one of the best places to spot a wild grey seal in the whole of the UK. Guided boat trips are the best way to see them, though you might be lucky to spot their heads bobbing in the water from the South West Coast Path at Looe and Polperro. Keep an eye out for porpoise and common dolphins later in spring - they can sometimes be spotted in harbours and close to the coast!

Take a look at some of our blog posts about Cornwall and the area around Fowey before booking your mini break to the South West!

Visit blooming Cornwall gardens this spring

Discover Cornwall's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Tagged under: Fowey   Cornwall   wildlife   Nature