The Isle of Man is home to a diverse array of visiting and migrant birdlife - making it the perfect visitor destination for bird watchers!
Birdwatchers will find an assortment of species – several of which are rarities in other parts of the British Isles – in habits of exceptional natural beauty.
The Island’s extensive coastline is home to an abundance of coastal birds – including kittiwake, guillemot and puffins - which can be found nesting in the cliffs, on the sandy beaches and in the coastal grasslands and the salt marsh.
The Island also has its own bird observatory, located on the Calf of Man, which is home to many seabird species including the Manx shearwater, shags and occasionally cormorants. You can also visit the Ayres Nature Reserve in the north of the Island where you’ll be able to see nesting colonies of terns and warblers.
A good way to search for the Island’s feathered friends is by travelling the coastal footpaths which are well signposted. Try the Raad ny Foillan – the Road of the Gull – where as well as spectacular coastal and countryside views, you’ll find excellent spots to sit and watch the bird population. Don’t forget your binoculars!
What you will see will depend on when you visit - in the winter expect to see hen harriers and scavenging ravens on the north eastern hills and large flocks of chough on the cliffs in the south.
In spring you’ll see ravens nesting on many of the Island’s rocky cliffs, including Marine Drive in Douglas, and in the summer you might catch a glimpse of skylarks and stonechat and in the very north of the Island, at the Ayres Nature Reserve, you may be able to see warblers.
As the woodlands and glens turn autumnal, the Island will be visited by brent geese which travel from the Arctic and can usually be found around the Derbyhaven area. In the Ballaugh Curraghs wetland you should be able to see the largest winter roost of hen harriers in Western Europe.
The bird observatory at the Calf of Man is run by Manx National Heritage. Boat trips run to the Calf of Man during the summer months from Port Erin and Port St Mary. Trips depend on the weather and tide times so see the boards in both harbour areas for more information.