Friday, 16 May 2014

Weeks of wondering over; volunteers celebrate new chough chicks at Lizard Point

A team of National Trust and RSPB volunteers have been watching on tenterhooks to see if the legacy of choughs on the Lizard would continue. The long wait is over, and it is good news!

The original Lizard Point pair (2001 -2013)
As you may have heard, in 2013 volunteers witnessed the dramatic end of the original pair of choughs who had pioneered the natural return of choughs to Cornwall since 2001, raising 46 chicks. In late May the original male bird died defending his territory against a young incoming male, who then paired up with the existing female. Two weeks after the take over, she too disappeared, leaving the young incoming male to raise the chicks on his own. After a month of hard, lonely work the younger male managed to successfully raise the youngsters who fledged in July last year.

The young incoming male held his new territory over the winter and has attracted a new mate.  In March, the new pair built two nests here at Lizard Point, keeping volunteers guessing as to where they might settle. Thankfully, they settled in the original nest cave.

The new Lizard Point pair (present)
A team of RSPB and National Trust volunteers have being keeping a close eye on the Lizard choughs, and although it appears that the birds have been raising young, watchers couldn’t be 100% sure what was in the nest until today.  Finally, licensed BTO bird ringer, Tony Cross was able to put their minds at rest when he came to colour ring the young choughs yesterday (15th May). Everyone involved is pleased to announce that this year the new pair at Lizard Point have a brood of three new chicks in their nest. (Two males and a female). Thanks to information from the RSPB, we now know that from all five broods across Cornwall, there are a total of seventeen young chicks this year, which is fantastic news.

Lizard Wildlife Watchpoint - National Trust

The youngsters are expected to fledge in early June. Now is the best time to see choughs at the new National Trust Wildlife Watchpoint, which is open daily from 10am – 4pm. Volunteers are on hand until mid September to give you up to date information on the choughs, seals and other wildlife around Lizard Point, as well as provide great views through our binoculars and telescope.

Posted by Cat 

For more news on the wildlife watchpoint visit: or follow us on twitter

For more information on the choughs visit: or

Photographs courtesy of  Andy Hay ( and Terry Thirlaway (National Trust ©)

Friday, 2 May 2014

Tourism and Wildlife – getting to the Point

In a recent poll, Cornwall topped the world for the best destination for a family holiday. No surprises there really, with an abundance of beautiful beaches, a varied and extraordinary landscape, great food and family friendly cafes and restaurants, it's a no-brainer for a great family holiday, despite our varied weather. And we know from previous studies, such as the National Trust's Valuing our Environment study, that a key reason people cite for coming to Cornwall is the unspoilt beauty of our coastline.

So offering a great environment as well as the facilities for a great holiday is really important for the longer term future of the tourism industry, but also plays a big part in helping to secure support for nature in the future.

So what do we make of this for the Lizard? Tourism is clearly a big part of our local economy and places like Kynance and Lizard Point attract hundreds of thousands of people each year, supporting a large number of local businesses. But these are not simple tourist traps, both are beautiful places, have great cafes and things to do but they also offer a host of wildlife experiences for those who want to look a little further. A walk to Kynance beach takes you past classic Lizard heathland rich in a rare treat of heather, plants and insects not to be seen elsewhere in the country.

At Lizard Point, the wildlife watchpoint, set up over 10 years ago by the RSPB to watch the choughs nesting nearby is now being managed by the National Trust. While the RSPB continue to run the nest protection at nest sites across Cornwall, here at Lizard Point, we are helping them to monitor and protect the choughs while also introducing thousands of visitors to the wildlife that inhabit our shores, from choughs overhead, to rare plants on the cliffs or seals and porpoises out to sea.

And the Lizard has an abundance of wildlife. It's a speciality for the Lizard; in marketing terms its USP (Unique Selling Point) and this offers the visitor a great added experience to their holiday, something that a group of tourism businesses on the Lizard are making their own. VisitLizard are looking at how businesses on the Lizard can work more closely together to promote the area, not just for its beaches, great local food and beautiful countryside and coastline but as a place where one can also experience extraordinary wildlife.

Getting everyone, and children in particular, outdoors and more in touch with nature is key to a sustainable future. After all, people won't want to protect what they first don't care about and so a trip to the Lizard on holiday offers a great chance to see and experience nature that will stay in minds forever and breed a new generation of wildlife and nature lovers (and protectors) for the future.

- Alastair

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