Skip to main content

Helford River Wildlife Watch – July

By June 28, 2016Kayaking News

July is a month of hot sunny days and warm summer evenings, the prefect to get out on the water and enjoy wildlife spotting on Helford River and its creeks and here is what to look out for in July:


Giant grey birds with a wingspan of almost 200cm they look prehistoric when they fly. Nesting high up in the tree tops awaiting the low tide. The heron colony on Polwheveral Creeks has grown in the last month and can be seen sitting up in the tree tops of Merthwn Woods and on the fallen trees on Polpenwith Creek. They can also been seen on the ancient oak tree lined banks of Frenchman’s Creek made infamous by Daphne du Marier’s novel of the same name.

Heron on fallen branch



Little egrets have a similar form to grey herons, but are smaller and have bright white feathers and yellow legs and feet. Numbers have grown in the last month. A colony of egrets can be seen on Polwheveral Creek and smaller colonies or individuals on the Helford River, Frenchman’s Creek and Port Navas Creek depending on the wind direction. Bird number swell as Little Egrets fly in from Europe and they can live up to 9 years! In the 19th Century their feathers were the height of fashion decorating ladies hats and it was from the slaughter of the Egrets and resulting reduction in population that led to the formation of the RSPB in the 1800s.

Herons and Egrets


As the tide ebbs the exposed mylor slate shows the hundreds of fat mussels that line the banks of the Helford River. Completely natural, they grow lovely blue / black clumps, safe for another year as old folklore states that can only be picked on Good Friday!


The ducklings are growing up, but a mother with five ducklings seems to be protecting them from the dangers of buzzards and other birds of prey. They can be seen on Port Navas Creek by the Budock Vean Hotel and on Frenchman’s Creek. Here is some video footage:


Their jet black wings are waxed so they can swim under water to catch fish – they can dive up to 65 metres!  They can be seen flying around the Helford River and Creeks and perching on the buoys drying out their wigs before diving down for more fish! A popular spot for cormorants are buoys by the oyster station on the Helford River above Port Navas Creek



An all year round treat, but they can bee see gracefully gliding over the Helford River and creeks. It is amazing watching nature in action from the water as Kestrals dive down attacking crow’s nests and the crows gather round this majestic bird to protect their young – a real David Attenborough moment!

Black-Headed Gulls

Slightly smaller than herring gulls, their heads turn from white with two small dots on the sides of the head to a hood of dark brown / black feathers. These birds can live to 32 years old – there has even been one report of a 65 year old bird!

Grey seals

Grey seals have been seen at the mouth of Port Navas Creek following fishing boats in the past 5 years, but more recently we have had a grey seal blowing bubbles at us on Polweheveral Creek and on Frenchman’s Creek. Here is some video footage from the boat:

Grey seal


Beautiful white birds they can be seen gliding up the Helford River and down the creeks, most regularly on Port Navas Creek, but there are sightings on Polwheveral and Frenchman’s Creeks. IN the past months we have seen a pair of swans. Swans form bonds as early as 20 months and can live for 10-20 years! They nest by the water and their eggs incubate for 34-35 days and so we hope to see some cygnets in July!

Couple of swans


Native oysters are in season and can be seen on the low tide Koru Kayak Adventures along the banks of the Helford River.

Pacific Oyster farming also takes place on the Helford River, the farming process can be seen on the boat trips and kayak tours.

Happy Wildlife watching in July!

You can follow our wildlife sightings on our social media: facebook, twitter and Instagram – 1 ½ hour cruises along the Helford River and Creeks – bring your cameras and binoculars! From Budock Vean Hotel, TR11 5LG – 2 hour Guided Kayak Adventures – Frenchman’s Creek Kayak Adventures from the Budock Vean Hotel, TR11 5LG. North Coast Kayak Adventures from Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes are also available.