In May the ancient oak trees are starting to bud and the glimmer of bright green fresh leaves are emerging! It’s an exciting month on the Helford River and there’s some lovely wildlife to look out for.
Little egrets are such a stunning sight to see on the Helford River and it’s creeks. It was wonderful to see a flock of them huddled up on the tree tops on Polwheveral Creek in the Herony. It’s nesting season and some of them may well be returning from a warm winter in Africa and southern Europe.
Herons can also been seen perched up in their nests. Although we haven’t seen quite as many flying about the river, they are obviously busy protecting their nests. When they do fly, their immense wing span makes them look like Pterodactyl. Their wing span can be 150-195 cm, that’s 59.1″ – 76.8″ wide!
The Shelduck is a fairly recent sighting on the Helford River and creeks. We often spot them on Frenchman’s Creek and only starting seeing them 2 years ago. Both males and females have green heads, red bills and chestnut brown chests. Part of the duck, swan and geese family they are bigger than a mallard and smaller than a goose and breed in rabbit burrows! There are various specifies throughout the world. Many breed in temperate Eurosiberia and migrate to subtropical areas in winter, but this species favours the North Coast Germany and the UK coast and estuaries. Lifespan 5-15 years.
Not forgetting the lovely mallards we see on Frenchman’s Creek, who currently have ducklings trailing behind them. Males with their green heads and females a mottled brown all over. Lifespan of just 5-10 years and much smaller wing span than the Shelduck with up to 98cm. The ducklings a sign that Spring is here.
Atlantic Grey Seal
Perhaps on the of the highlights last month was spotting this Atlantic Grey seal who was enjoying a nice mullet for dinner. We don’t often see large mammals in the Helford, but as it’s tidal, when the sea floods in from Falmouth Bay we can see some lovely Atlantic Grey seals and dolphins around the mouth of the river. They don’t reside here, but will often follow a fish or fishing boat into the river, so keep your eyes peeled!
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