Birdwatching around St Ives, Carbis Bay and the adjacent coast can be a very rewarding experience and add another dimension to your visit.
Starting from the harbour and walking westwards to the "Island" you can see Turnstones (small orange and pied waders) running along the quay and beach, and the ubiquitous gulls. Herring Gulls are the large ones with a pale grey back and pink legs. Lesser Black-backed Gulls are of a similar size with a dark back and yellow legs and the very large dark backed Gull with pink legs is the Greater Black-backed. Most of the small gulls are Black-headed Gulls.
"Gannets, Razorbills, Puffins, Guillemots.. "
From the "Island" you can "Sea Watch" for Manx Shearwaters, Gannets (massive white birds with black wing tips), Razorbills, Puffins, Guillemots etc: while on the rocks will be small Robin sized Rock Pipits, with similar sized white rumped Wheatears in Spring or Summer on the grass of the "Island" itself. Very often Buzzards will be soaring in the sky (Large brown birds with conspicuous "fingers" of flight feathers at the blunt wingtips).
"Peregrine falcons and Kestrels.. "
If you are lucky as you proceed along the coast towards Land's End you should encounter a large falcon, the Peregrine, by no means uncommon now, and the hovering smaller falcon, the Kestrel. Other birds along the route to Land's End are Linnets, Goldfinches, Stonechats etc.
In Summer in late evening by the climbing centre along the B3306 (no need to leave the road), on the side of Carn Galver you can hear the Nightjars "churring", and during the Winter mostly here you could see a Hen Harrier or Short eared Owl, and all year Ravens are about. At Land's End itself there is a R.S.P.B. hide and optical equipment for viewing the Kittiwake colony and nesting Shags.
"Egrets and Kingfishers.. "
Setting off from St Ives in the opposite direction around Carbis Bay may yield small delicate seabirds rather like gulls, these are terns, Sandwich, Common and Arctic terns, with occasional Little terns, are fairly common. The wooded hillsides of Carbis Bay are home to Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, various warblers in Spring and Summer, and perhaps a Redbacked or Woodchat Shrike.
Finally you will arrive at Hayle estuary (or take the train from St Ives, a short interesting journey along the cliffs and shore to Lelant Station). Here you can see a large variety of wading birds, ducks etc: and the now regular Little Egrets (small white herons). Crossing the road between the estuary and the Hayle by-pass brings you to the R.S.P.B. reserve of "Ryan's Field". This is a series of lagoons and islands with a very good free car park and observation centre. This is a good place for seeing Kingfishers as well as wading birds, including, in Spring or late Summer, rarities (ask any birder you see what there is at present and most of them will be glad to help, there is also a day to day log).
A short trip will take you to Marazion Marsh opposite St Michael's Mount. This is another R.S.P.B. reserve and during Spring and Summer, guided walks are available on Wednesdays at 10.30a.m (meet in the car park).
Details of all the R.S.P.B. trips and any other queries you have can be obtained from the R.S.P.B. office in Marazion, Tel: 01736 711682 during office hours. This article is too short to list the hundreds of different types of birds seen over the years in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, suffice to say it's around 500 species and the longest list for any county in Britain. Have a nice holiday birding and come again soon.