Here's a few ideas for you during your visit on the Isle of Man;
Top 10 Places to Visit;
1 Peel - Castle and House of
2 Castletown - Castle Rushen, Old House of Keys
and Nautical Museum
3 Laxey - Great Laxey Wheel, King Orry's Grave
4 Douglas - Tram to Snaefell, Steam
Train to Port Erin, Manx Museum, Gaiety Theatre & House of
5 Cregneash - Folk Museum
6 Maughold - Church, Stone Crosses and
7 Port Erin - Train Museum, Bradda Head and
8 St Johns - Tynwald Hill and
9 Ramsey - Grove Museum &
10 Ballaugh - Curraghs Wetland Reserves &
Curraghs Wildlife Park
Top 4 Long Walks (between 10 to 20 miles and all have some
1 Port Erin to Port St Mary (Raad ny
2 Peel to Port Erin (Raad ny
3 Ramsey to Crosby (Millenium
4 Ramsey to Laxey (Raad ny
Top 4 Medium Walks (steep inclines*);
1 Castletown, Poyll Vaaish and Scarlett
2 Dhoon Glen to Dhoon Bay *
3 South Barrule Hill Walk *
4 Heritage Way (Douglas to Peel)
Top 4 Short Walks (uneaven paths and some inclines);
1 Glen Maye
2 Silverdale Glen
3 Ballaglass Glen
4 Langness Coastal Path (from carpark near
Top 12 additional places to park and enjoy the view;
1 The Sound
3 Point of Ayre
4 Marine Drive (Douglas)
5 Perwick Bay (Port St Mary)
6 Fleshwick Bay
7 Glen Wyllin
8 Fort Island (Langness)
9 Cronk ny Aree Lay
10 Cornaa Bay
11 Axnfell Plantation
12 Port Lewaigue
I’ve been very busy
with my History degree since September, hence the lack of
updates. Unfortunately there will be limited
updates until my 'mature student school' term ends in spring, but when I do
have time, I will try and update the tours Facebook page rather than
this website. So please join me on Facebook if you can.
5th January 2012
20th September 2011
There are lots of bird
sightings this time of year, as we have a cross-over between our summer leavers
and winter arrivals. We still have an abundance of Gannets and Swallows, soon
to be replaced by waders and wildfowl. There have been excellent sightings of
Peregrine Falcons recently as well as the usual Hen Harriers and Kestrels. The
Wild Wallabies have also been ‘performing’, they haven’t let me down once this
year and have appeared during every walk I have taken through the Curraghs (I
should get them to speak to the Basking Sharks about
Updates to this blog will be reduced over the next few months
as I am starting a History Degree. I will try and update both this site and my
‘Isle of Man Wildlife Tours Facebook’ page when I get a spare moment between
5th September 2011
2011 might go down as ‘The
Year of no Manx Sharks’.... I hope it’s not a
sign of things to come. Their absence this year means they are
probably hanging around somewhere else, possibly Scotland. But
what if they have been depleted by Chinese shark fin hunters or the
Gulf of Mexico oil spill has harmed them during their migration.
Being interested in conservation is a wonderful thing and it is very
rewarding, however the thing you love is always in danger of harm from
others (sometimes I feel it’s like living in a log cabin in a
neighborhood of arsonists). Whether through peoples stupidity,
greed or selfishness; there are individuals who have an awful impact on
wildlife and they just don’t care. However, even a wildlife
enthusiast cannot avoid having a negative impact, there are occasions
when I might disturb wildlife and tootling around the countryside in a
people carrier does create a footprint. So it’s
trying to balance the good with the necessary evil and hopefully coming
out with a little positive karma. Unfortunately though there are
too many with negative karma (i.e. shark fin hunters) who
make conversation a very difficult battle.
I like to finish on a positive note though..... we've had a Peregrine
Falcon perched on the police station mast just behind my house for the
last couple of weeks. Great to see it hawking about.
23rd August 2011
One of the best things about doing the tours is I get to meet
some great people. I will often learn from my new found friends, plus there are
usually a few laughs. Particularly on Sunday’s tour when we came across a
Wallaby which had fallen into a ditch and it was hopping around soaking wet.
Poor thing. It just shows that humans aren’t the only clumsy accident prone
creatures on the planet. There are signs that summer is coming to a close for
another year, flowering Harebells, the bright heather on the hills and Swallows
gathering. Fortunately autumn is a great season to look forward to. Don’t
forget to visit the tours Facebook page which has few videos and
pictures. Just search for Isle of Man Wildlife Tours within Facebook.
9th August 2011
Hen Harriers and Peregrine Falcons have been seen in good numbers
during the last month. I have been watching a pair of falcons
above Douglas, the parent in front with a youngster following; usually
screeching, like a lot of youngsters I know. At Langness a male
Hen Harrier swooped beside my car and then stirred up all the birds in
the saltmarsh area at Sandwick. There were Oystercatchers,
Starlings, Swallows and Sparrows dashing for cover or even pursuing the
harrier. The Grey Herons just stood and watched the commotion.
The harrier failed to make a catch and swooped towards the shore,
disturbing a flock of Sandwich Terns who then chased the harrier off
along the shore.
1st August 2011
A big thank you to the chap at Marine
Drive on Saturday who said, “I’ve just seen some leaping
dolphins heading south.” I drove south myself and saw
Rissos Dolphins breaching at Langness. They are my favourite
marine species and it was a joy to see them again. I have also
been taking a few evening trips; exploring the Curraghs for the
wild wallabies and we have also been seeing Hen Harriers on the
moorlands. It is a great time for birds of prey...
although not so good for the little bird I saw in the clutches of
a Peregrine's talons.
25th July 2011
been one of the quietest years for Basking Sharks that I have known
during my years of wildlife watching on the island.
Apparently the sharks are hanging around the Hebrides instead
this year, maybe when they head back south they will call in and
say hello. On Friday I headed from the coast and took a trip up
to North Barrule (the seconded highest peak on the island). Lots
of Mountain Hares hopping around and we managed to get quite close some
of them. There were also Peregrines, Kestrels and a Hen Harrier.
I was also surprised at how many butterflies and bees there were
on the slopes. We also found the wreckage site of a B17 bomber
which crashed into the side of the hill at the end of World War 2,
a reminder of a tragic moment in the island's history.
11th July 2011
Seabird colonies are noisy, exciting and often
smelly places to visit during the early part of summer. The best location on the IoM is ‘The Sugarloaf‘ (near the Chasms)
and that’s where I headed this evening.
There were Chough, Ravens and a flock of 30+ Curlew on the walk down to the
cliffs. Once at the cliff edge you suddenly get blasted by the noise of
hundreds of seabirds........ plus the aroma of their droppings
(fishy, but you soon get used to it). Along
the ledges there are Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes, all chattering
noisily. If you look closely you might spot a chick hiding, but usually you only hear them calling to their
parents. The birds cover the surface of the surrounding
sea in small rafts of birds, in amongst them I spotted a small pod of porpoise. The only bad
thing about The Sugarloaf is the walk back up to the carpark *gasp*,
however, it is probably this remoteness which helps protect the wildlife
from human disturbance.
4th July 2011
Summer is most definitely here, the last weekend was a bit of
a scorcher. I was invited to join the ‘Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch’ during one
of their surveys on Sunday; it was a great day out. I don’t own a boat, so it’s
always a bit special for me to leave land and go exploring the sea. We
encountered a small (but very active) pod of Common Dolphins who had a quick bow
ride off the front of the boat. We also saw Harbour Porpoise, a Basking Shark
and a juvenile Minke Whale (named ‘Mini Minke’ by the crew). I took my film
camera and I have put a short film clip of the dolphins on my Isle of Man
Wildlife Tours Facebook site. My new Facebook site will enable me to share more
pictures, information and videos with you. Everyone is very welcome to join,
just click ‘Like’ on my Facebook site and you will be notified of updates as
they appear. Follow the below link to join the fun;
28th June 2011
lovely evening out with a fun group of people seeing lots of different
sights. What more could you ask for.... well,
maybe fewer midgies and possibly a Basking Shark. But we did see some Harbour Porpoise, lots of seabirds
and seals. There was also a plunge
diving Gannet.... the other Gannets didn’t
‘perform’ (a watched pot never boils and apparently a watched Gannet will never
plunge dive). But even if Gannets don’t play, there’s beautiful
countryside; the Niarbyl vistas, the waterfall at
Glen Maye, orchids on the hills and the views from
the Neolithic site at the Meayll Circle.
Now, where did I put that can of midgie repellent......
20th June 2011
Wildlife never performs when you want
it to. I was stood on the coast with friends when a Peregrine
Falcon flew above us. I excitedly told everyone to watch it as it
gathered height. “In a couple of seconds, it will plunge
down over the cliffs, it’ll be great!” I told
them. We all stood and watched in anticipation of an exciting
show. The falcon then proceeded to gently gain more height and
fly off in the other direction, slowly disappearing as a dot on the
horizon. We stood and watched it fly off and one of my friends
exclaimed, “Yeah, that was great.”
14th June 2011
It was great to see the Island appear
on Springwatch, especially our Chough showing off to camera.
I have been out and about, just like Chris Packham. There were
seals aplenty, including a couple of the rare Harbour Seals.
Oystercatcher chicks were seen on the rocks; little fluffy versions of
their parents. Lots of plunge diving Gannets and of course family
groups of Chough. I have also seen quite a few Basking
Sharks; which is a bonus.
28th May 2011
First Basking Sharks of the year spotted today, first shark from
Niarbyl and the second from Peel. The Peel shark was spotted whilst we were
stood on the breakwater and it just popped up in front of us like a surfacing
submarine. During the tour we also saw a Harbour Seal (they used to be called
Common Seals, but they aren’t that common, hence the name change). The Sundew plant (a carnivorous
species) is now appearing, as well as Cotton Grass on the moorlands. Heath
Spotted Orchids will flower in a couple of weeks. It was a great weekend for
seeing fledglings, such as Chaffinch, Mallard, Shelduck and Chough.
Unfortunately you fear for some of these youngsters, as the Hooded Crows and
Herring Gulls watch for any who stray too far from their parents, nature can be
both beautiful and cruel.
22nd May 2011
We were witness to the special sight as a pair of Hen
Harriers flew together and exchanged food in the air. We also saw a separate
incident with a Male Hen Harrier and a Kestrel having a scrap. At the Ayres we
saw lots of Little & Arctic Terns, plus Dunlin scampering over the
beach and a Ringed Plover nest. Out to sea there were plunge diving Gannets and seals playing in the
waves. We also enjoyed the eclectic countryside, exploring moorlands, glens and
wetlands during the tour. Although, one thing learned today by the group, if you find a dead
Dogfish and put it in a warm car it does release quite a
powerful aroma. *Sniff*
15th May 2011
We had a great tour today highlighting the wide diversity of
our wildlife. There was the beauty of the bluebells and tumbling rivers of a
glen. There was the excitement of watching Gannets firing into the sea after
fish and also a Peregrine stoop and race down on its prey. There were rarities
like the Little Terns and Hen Harrier, and finally the unusual in the shape of a
wild wallaby. Lots of other wonderful wildlife seen, such as Ravens, Arctic
& Sandwich Terns, Dunlin, Curlew, Skylark (very close) and Grey Seals. A
truly great day out.... without a single Basking Shark!
11th May 2011
It has been quite windy recently, so no sightings of any
dolphins for a while (choppy seas and cetacean spotting don’t mix). Once the
weather calms I will start looking for my first Basking Sharks of the season.
We do occasionally see Basking Sharks in the summer whilst we visit places
around the coast; they are a real bonus on any wildlife tour. However, for a
chance to get a close look at a Basking Shark, you should book yourself on a
boat trip (I don’t have a boat and all my tours are land based). One of the
best boat trips is with ‘The Foillan Beg’ from Peel, more details can be found
in the Links section on this website; ‘Basking Shark Boat Trips’ are near the
3rd May 2011
First cuckoo of spring today whilst we visited Glen Maye, it
is a rare treat to hear one on the Isle of Man. We also saw a Treecreeper
scooting up a tall trunk and stood beneath the cool spray of the waterfall.
Birds around the island are now fully into nesting, Oystercatchers are brooding
and Blackbirds are running around with beaks full of worms. In the woodlands
there are the songs of Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiff Chaff. The coast is
at its prime with Spring Squill, Thrift, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Sea Campion in
dense carpets of flowers. Troops of lambs bounce around the fields whilst
Swallows and Martins dash amongst them like diurnal bats. In the north of the
island we have Sandwich & Little Terns, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and I even saw
an Arctic Skua. I love May.
27th April 2011
First singing Whitethroats and Orange Tip Butterflies.
During the next week I expect the Bluebells in the glens to be bursting fully into
colour, so a great time to visit Ballaglass Glen. Another interesting sight are
the small birds flying from the safety of land and heading north across the Irish Sea
towards Scotland. There must be an instinctive urge to drive them
over a large body of water with no place to land for 15 miles. I wonder if any
birds change their minds halfway across and turn back. Anyway, I hope the
little brown bird I’ve just seen heading towards Galloway makes it safely
15th April 2011
I walked the Millennium Way with friends this
weekend and it was wonderful. Away from the traffic and
civilisation, walking through a true bit of Manx wilderness.
There were Mountain Hares still in their winter white coats.
Hen Harriers and Red Grouse. The only problem was getting a
zap off an electric fence and my walking shoes failing to
waterproof my feet from the boggy areas. Squelch. I have
also been to the coast this weekend where I saw Harbour Porpoise,
Seals, Chough, Wheatear and my first Common Lizard of the year.
The Spring Squil and Sea Campion are now in flower and the Cherry
Blossom Trees are starting to bloom.
10th April 2011
Ducklings ! Also first sightings of
the year of Swallows, singing Blackcaps and lots of Wheatears.
The woodland and coastal flowers are popping up, Scurvy Grass,
Bluebells, Primroses and Wood Sorrel all adding colour to the
countryside. I had an exciting encounter with a Peregrine Falcon
as it swooped over my head and scattered crows into the sky. Over
the weekend I also saw Puffin, Wild Wallaby, Kestrels, Chough and
Grey Seals. Still on the look out for Common Lizards, they cannot
elude me forever this year.
27th March 2011
Rissos Dolphins ! First ones spotted this season at Marine Drive
and an absolute delight to see. It has been a great week for
birds of prey, with Peregrines, a Buzzard and a Hen Harrier
seen over the weekend. With the help of some good friends I
also saw my first Brambling and got very close to some beautiful
Yellowhammers (it was like watching wild canaries). I'm now
looking out for my 2011 first Common Lizards and hearing Blackcaps
singing, so much to look forward to..... plus hopefully a few
more Rissos sightings if I'm lucky.
22nd March 2011
Today was beautiful. Sunshine and calm winds
and lots of new spring sightings for 2011. Meadow Pipits doing
their parachuting displays, first Chiff Chaff singing, Comma
Butterflies on Lesser Celandine and the first Sand Martins. In
addition there were lots of seals, a female Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk,
Black Guillemots and lots of bird song. One of the great joys of
spring is the explosion of colour from previously bland places.
You can turn a corner now and there is stunning pink blossom or
white woodland flowers (Wood Anemone). You have to get out
there now and enjoy it.
15th March 2011
The Gannets have returned for the summer and it is
always a joy to watch them plunge diving around our coast. The
first Primroses and Lesser Celandine are in flower and all the resident
birds are in song. It is a great time of the year to be out and
about, especially when it is nice and sunny like today. I love
1st March 2011
I have been doing more phenology
(observing seasonal changes), which shouldn’t be mistaken for
phrenology (studying the bumps on someone’s head). First
flowering daffs and a bumble bee has been spied. I heard my first
Dunnock singing and soon I heard them all around the coast,
maybe just one needs to start and the rest kick off. At
Marine Drive a Raven whooshed over my head, the noise of its powerful
beating wings sounded like the thick blades of a turbine as it
passed. There was also the cackling call of Razorbills and
Jackdaws dancing through the sky in acrobatic mobs. The healing
properties of the coast are quite remarkable, having endured an
annoying morning in the office, I went for lunch on the glorious
headland and soon felt the tension lift from my shoulders. Ahhhhh.
23rd February 2011
More signs of spring this week. Rooks are starting their
very first steps towards nest building. I watched them for a while, first
plucking a single long twisted twig from a tree. Then flying back to a suitable
‘V’ shaped branch near the top of their chosen roosting place. Then comes the
tricky bit, placing the long twig on the branch and hoping it won’t fall off
before you place the second twig down. It’s a clever bit of engineering to
build what inevitably looks like scraggly bag of twigs. I foraged my first wild
garlic of 2011 today, chopped roughly and sprinkled over my chilli con carne
14th February 2011
There are many subtle little signs of spring around, the
occasional insect braving the outdoors or the early buds of plants. But my
favourite indicators are the birds. Off the coast of Peel today there were
Black Guillemots and Razorbills looking splendid in their summer plumage.
Within the harbour there was a Cormorant diving, revealing its white side
patches which are part of their breeding plumage. I also noticed the green
iridescent sheen of a Magpie’s tail this morning. There was one other thing I
enjoyed seeing today, a big bull Grey Seal with a fish in its mouth, trying to
wolf it down whilst gulls tried to get a peck in. As part of the mobbing, one
gull landed on the seals head. You have to admire the tenacity of
8th February 2011
My wildlife year has commenced. This will mean the last sightings of our winter visitors like Whooper
Swans and Bottlenose Dolphins, but the start of a chain of new events. One of
the first nesting birds will be the Ravens and the earliest migrants will be the
Sand Martins. The birds are already singing and soon I will hear Skylarks and
warblers again. There is so much to look forward to in the spring.
4th February 2011
30th January 2011
Who would have thought a weekend in January would turn out to be one of the best wildlife
days ever. Saturday was a special day which I will remember for
the rest of my life. I arrived at Fort Island and my heart raced
as a dolphin leapt into the air and landed with a splash. A
quick jog to a higher vantage point brought me the wonderful view of
a sea full of dolphins, maybe as many as seventy scattering the
horizon. Most of the pod had passed and I could see them
disappearing into a glistening sea toward Langness. The
stragglers put on a show, breaching and splashing, often in pairs.
This rare treat passed within thirty minutes, but I was
buzzing for the rest of the afternoon. Bottlenose Dolphins are
only seen on the IoM during the autumn and winter, so this might be the last
time we see them until next November. But what a send off.
As an extra bonus I also saw Whooper Swans, Harbour Porpoise (one
was logging on the surface) and a dozen wild wallabies. Wildlife
watching doesn't get better than this.
23rd January 2011
weather was a bit ‘different’ on Saturday with areas of the
island cloaked in mist which filled the valleys like bowls of frothing
cloud. On the higher ground it was sunny and bright. I
joined some friends to spot some Crossbills, a species I have never
seen.... and I still haven't seen. However, it was a
nice day out with good people and I even caught the sun. I did
see Chough, a female Hen Harrier and lots of waders. I also saw
my first spring lambs. It won’t be long until I make my
regular annual announcement of seeing a little white flowering plant
(last year it was the 8th February).
12th January 2011
Today I heard my first Song Thrush of the year... he might
close his beak if it starts snowing again in a few weeks. I also saw a Raven chasing
a Jackdaw out of it’s territory, which indicates they are beginning to think
about nesting. It won’t be long before we have Snowdrops and the new year of
2011 nature will have truly begun.
4th January 2011
The snow may have gone but the wildlife is still here with flocks of
Curlew, Oystercatcher and Lapwings in the south. There were
thirty Pale Bellied Brent Geese at Derbyhaven as well as four Atlantic
Grey Seals. The winter solstice is now behind us and the days are
beginning to get thankfully longer. I went for an invigorating
walk along Marine Drive to burn off some Christmas over-indulgence and
I saw six Choughs and a Raven. The Raven was bold and it
stayed perched on a fence post as I passed on the opposite
pavement. When you get this close to a Raven you really
appreciate how large they are, this one appeared to be bigger than my
18th December 2010
is going to be punishing for the garden birds, there are four or five
inches out there and the island has come to a standstill. It's
pretty, pretty damn cold.
11th December 2010
Winter is the time for
wildfowl and waders. In the south of the island I saw Brent
Geese, Curlew and Wigeon at Derbyhaven. At Port St Mary there
were Purple Sandpiper, Grey and Golden Plover, Turnstone and
Oystercatcher. But the best sighting for me today was a flock of
thirty Lapwings circling the sky at Dalby. They are an uncommon
visitor here, but we do have more sightings in winter. When the
UK is cloaked in ice and snow, the IoM presents itself as slightly warmer and
green refuge and the stubble fields provide a feast of worms.
1st December 2010
It’s a bit on the cool side..... brrrrrrr. Saw my first
Waxwing today, in the glamorous location of a carpark tree. Lots of other small
birds about, often huddled together and fluffed up to keep warm. I’ve been
throwing seed onto my lawn to help the ground feeders like Blackbirds and Song
Thrushes. I do admire the wildlife for surviving through freezing weather. I
can’t imagine that many people would survive a couple of nights at sub zero
temperatures whilst perched in a bush.
21st November 2010
Lots of winter
around this weekend, with Lapwings, Wigeon, Curlew, Teal and Chough.
Still no sign of Minke Whales on the east coast, even though we
have had some calm days, maybe it will be just one of those
years. After all there are never any guarantees with wildlife
watching, which is one of the fun things about it. I had an
entertaining day out today looking at some of the more unusual sites on
island, including a 17th Century Fort, Spooyt Vane Waterfall, a cast of
a Giant's Hand and exploring a cave. There's always something to
do on the Isle of Man.
9th November 2010
After a lovely Saturday full of autumnal sunshine, by Monday
we seem to have plummeted into winter. The waves are pounding the
promenade and gulls fly past in a blur. The gulls are doings
their normal dancing routines on the grassy areas around town, trying to charm
the worms from the soil (or maybe they dance around to keep warm).
Also seen this weekend, Hen Harrier, wild wallaby, Curlew, Wigeon,
Chough and a fantastic thunder storm.
28th October 2010
'Wild Mann - Seasons' my
new wildlife DVD of the Isle of Man is now available in the shops.
It's a comprehensive documentary covering all of the island's
natural wonders including Basking Sharks, Rissos Dolphins and our Wild
Wallabies. It's been five years in the making and I've been able
to feature many unusual migrating birds which visit us, such as
White Stork, Black Redstart and Cattle Egret. The film is
entertaining, informative and an ideal present for someone you love at
Christmas. If you would like to purchase a copy they are
available online at the Lexicon Bookshop via the following link;
24th October 2010
I had a
challenging weekend in the wild. First, I went to Bulgham to see
the wild goats and found one trapped in a wire fence, after a lot of
struggling and noise (by the goat and me) I managed to get it’s
horns untangled. It then raced off into the field and immediately
started to feed, so it could have been trapped there a while and
was hungry. Next I went to Dhoon where I meet a friendly sheepdog
which raced up and didn’t stop..... until it collided with me
between my legs. Aargh!
My last ‘incident’ happened after I had been in Ballaglass
foraging sweet chestnuts. I took them home and roasted them in my oven. After
thirty minutes cooking, I stuck my fork in the first one and it exploded
like a firework.
I was covered in chestnut, luckily non of it exploded into my eyes.
Apparently you should pierce the shells before roasting...... now I
18th October 2010
Lots of birds of prey seen during the weekend, Hen
Harrier, Kestrel and Peregrine. I spotted Peregrines at
several different coastal areas, maybe these are migrants as I haven't
seen many during the summer. Peregrines are one of my
favourite birds, although the Herring Gulls are less keen on them.
Winter waders are at the Ayres, with good numbers of Golden
Plover, Curlew and Sanderling. The trees are still holding
their leaves. We have a prolonged autumn with lots of fruiting berries.
It was wonderful to see a large flock of Fieldfare over my
head, visiting the island to feast on all this abundance.
28th September 2010
We are now most definitely in autumn, the Maple and Oak are in colour
and the last Swallows are heading south. It's now time to start looking
for Minke Whales from the east coast. I went to Marine Drive to
look out to shore yesterday, but apparently all the sightings were on
the west coast, oh well, you can't be everywhere. I did see 20+
Chough as a consolation. The winter roost for Hen Harriers
at Ballaugh has brought success each visit and I achieved my highest
wild wallaby score of seventeen (that'll be tough total to beat).
10th September 2010
outings have included wild wallabies and during one coastal tour we saw
leaping Rissos Dolphins (a really special treat!). I’m busy
editing my Wild Mann 2 DVD at the moment, hence the lack of recent
diary updates. Hoping to get it finished soon, yippee !
24th August 2010
been a busy time of the year with lots of tours and it has been great
fun. The Isle of Man is a special place to show people, within
the space of an hour you can be walking in a glen, crossing the moors by
car and then at the coast watching seals . Every tour for
me is different and it’s wonderful to meet so many friendly and
interesting people along the way. The tours involve
much more than wildlife, we saw an angry giant at the weekend (a rock
formation in a cliff which looks like a big angry face) and
plenty of other unusual things to see. Although if I
rescue a Hedgehog off a busy road again I’ll not use my bare
hands to pick it up..... damn they are prickly.
8th August 2010
A good mixture of species seen over the course of
the last week. There have been Basking Sharks (eventually!), Wild
Wallabies, Common Lizards and a Peregrine Falcon. The mini-beasts
have also been on show, such as Heath Bee Flies, Six Spot Burnet Moths
and Little Blue Butterflies. There are also plunge diving Gannets
and Sandwich Terns to enjoy. I'm currently finishing off my
latest film Wild Mann 2 (I couldn't think of a better title for the
sequel) and am busy editing the last pieces together. Fingers
crossed for a DVD release in October and I'm looking forward to having
an audience see my work.
25th July 2010
Saw some interesting Hen Harrier behavior today on the hills. A
male was flying above the heather and young harrier flew up to meet it.
The male dropped a food parcel to the young bird, which
dropped.... and then the parcel started to fly (it looked like a
Pipit). The young bird pursued the Pipit, calling in a high
pitched 'cheep' 'cheep' 'cheep'. I didn't see whether the
youngster caught the Pipit as they disappeared behind a hedge.
I'm wondering whether this was a way of training the youngsters
to catch their own prey. If not, the male Hen Harrier made
a mistake by not killing the prey before dropping it.
21st July 2010
I was sat on the coast watching the approaching sunset.
Seals were calling from the rocks, occasional Gannets plunge dived into the calm
shimmering sea and Chough flew overhead. A beautiful scene.... but it couldn’t
have done with a couple of Basking Sharks.
12th July 2010
beaches at the Ayres are currently home to lots of different chicks
(Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher the most common), so watch your feet
if you go for a walk. The chicks will hide amongst the stones on
the beach, so I always walk with my head down monitoring every single
step, I would hate to stand on anything. At the southern cliffs
the Herring Gull chicks are calling and we have lots of Chough
youngsters darting about. I saw a Harbour Porpoise
yesterday, plus the usual plunge diving Gannets and Terns.
There are also good numbers of Grey Seals around the entire
coast and occasional we can get very close.
4th July 2010
Sharks..... they have been eluding us during every trip this
week, although the choppy sea state hasn't helped as we look from land
at the usual hotspots. There have been large numbers of
Chough, plunge diving Gannets, Grey Seals and lots more. Plus we
have some fabulous cultural and historical highlights to visit on route
(at least they don't hide behind the waves!). We also have
orchids in flower and today we saw Kestrels and a Peregrine Falcon.
So who needs to see sharks... well, one would be nice...
16th June 2010
I have just returned from a lovely holiday in the Shetlands
and within one day of being back on the Isle of Man I have seen a Kestrel catch
a mouse and a group of leaping Rissos Dolphins making big splashes as they
crossed the gap between Spanish Head and the Calf (we were stood at the Sound
watching them). We have orchids flowering and a flock of 20+
Chough also flew over my head. It is as if the Manx wildlife is saying, “welcome home!”
1st June 2010
A week of mixed weather
and a mixture of sightings. Sharks have been quite elusive but
there has been lots of other wildlife to see including a Puffin in Port
Erin bay which was an unusual treat. It is the time of year for
fledglings, Long Tailed Tits (very cute) and Shelduck ducklings.
Whilst at Bulgham Bay during one tour we had to retreat from a
determined wild Billy Goat.... you don't mess with big
horns. There were also Sandwich Terns, plunge diving Gannets,
Grey Seals and plenty of warblers.
23rd May 2010
A lovely week of weather to be out exploring the
countryside. I have seen my first Basking Sharks of the year and my total is
already up to six, they are appearing more in the early evening rather than
during the daytime at the moment. There are lots of birds in song including
Blackcap, Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler and Song Thrush. The coastal flowers
are nearing their peak and seabirds are excitedly nesting, especially the
raucous Kittiwake at the Sugarloaf. The best sight this week was on Thursday when
Gannets flew into Peel harbour and plunge dived for fish, an exciting and
unusual spectacle. Also seen this week; Lapwing, Harbour Porpoise, Peregrine
Falcon (heard but not seen) and lots of Chough. The Chough at Marine Drive
appear to have devised a new game called, ‘Annoy the Fulmar’ which involves
flying at a Fulmar on a ledge and swooping over its head.... although the
Fulmars don’t appear to see the funny side.
16th May 2010
There are many tiny things of beauty around our Island, you just
need to stop and take a closer look. A coastal flower called Spring Squill is a
good example of this, to get the full magic of this little purple flower you
need to get down to it’s level for a closer look. We also have Thrift,
Birdsfoot Trefoil, Sea Campion and Dog Violets adding colour to the coast.
From the small to the massive, the first Basking Shark of the year was spotted last week
from Niarbyl, so we should start getting more sightings in the next few weeks.
During the weekend I have seen Peregrine Falcon, Little Terns, Gannets, Harbour
Porpoise and lots of seabirds on our cliffs. May is my favourite month
9th May 2010
We went north today and
saw a good mixture of wildlife again. Plunge diving Gannets,
Sandwich and Little Terns from Rue Point was one highlight. We
also saw Common Lizard, lots of Chough (including a flock of fourteen),
Hen Harrier, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and a Wallaby.
Ballaglass Glen's floral bonanza is a little late this year after
the cold winter but the first Bluebells are now beginning to flower
(next week it should be fantastic). The beech trees are stunning
with their fresh lime leaves lit up by the sunshine. It'll
not be long until we see our first Basking Shark of the year and
we should hopefully get more Rissos sightings soon, so keep your eyes
on the sea.
5th May 2010
It's been so good this
last week that I've had little time to update my diary. We
have Gannets and Terns plunge diving around our coast, there are Red
Necked Wallabies with joeys in their pouches, singing warblers and the
glens are in glorious flower. My seal has also been released into
the wild and she should now be living somewhere around the coast, I've
yet to spot her but it might be difficult as we have so many seals
around. To see BBC footage of my seal being released, you can go
to the following link;
25th April 2010
Douglas was shrouded in
mist today so I headed north and found glorious sunshine and lots of
Sandwich Terns ('lots' is my technical term for between 20-50).
There were also Lapwings, Curlew and plunge diving Gannets close
to shore. I also saw a very quick Yellowhammer. Yesterday I
heard, but didn't see, a Grasshopper Warbler near Kionsleau. He
was hiding in a large patch of gorse and making his high pitched
trilling noise which sounds like a mixture of a grasshopper call
and pneumatic drill. Needless to mention, there were the
usual Chough and Grey Seals (we see them during most trips and they are
always a joy).
18th April 2010
I've been out and about
all weekend and enjoying a wide variety of wildlife. A couple of
beautiful birds took the eye, Wheater and Red Necked Grebe, both avian
stunners. I also saw some Harbour Porpoise, which is the first
time for a while. There's a very long list of other wildlife seen
over Saturday and Sunday; Grey Seals, Red-Necked Wallabies,
Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Gannet, Chough, Peregrine Falcon, Hen
Harrier, Little Egret, Goldeneye, Whooper Swan, Teal, Skylark, Raven,
Fulmar and Common Lizard. There's probably nowhere else in the
world where you would see that list in one weekend.
11th April 2010
We have a sunny and calm
spring, ahhh bliss. First sightings for Blackcap (my favourite
warbler) and Common Lizard (just the one, but hopefully more will make
an appearance now). The glens have been alive with birdsong,
Silverdale was superb with a good variety of songsters. The early
spring flora has burst into colour, Lesser Celandine, Marsh Marigolds,
Primroses, Wood Sorrel and Wood Anemone are now at their best. The
fields are full of spring lambs, including the little black Loughtan
lambs cute but mischievous, I saw one skip onto it's mothers back
for a higher view of the field. Grey Seals, Chough, Gannets,
Willow Warblers and Curlew also seen. It's definitely my
favourite time of year.
5th April 2010
It's Easter and I've
been taking tours and been out on my own as well. Lots to see
over the weekend including my first Swallow and Mallard ducklings (cute
as ever). There were also Little Egret, Gannets, Wigeon,
Shelduck, dozens of Grey Seals, Kittiwake, Chough, Razorbills and a
Dipper. I also went into the Curragh to see the wallabies where
there was an incident involving someone who let their Collie Sheepdog
run out of control.... if you go to the Curragh and you have to
take a dog, please keep it on a lead. I saw my first Joey in
a pouch last week, so the wallabies could be vulnerable at the
moment. To finish on a positive though, I had superb views of
both a male and female Hen Harriers, what beautiful birds.
28th March 2010
Unfortunately I didn't
have any tour bookings this weekend but I have been out anyway enjoying
the countryside on my own during sunny weekend. A highlights was the
massive gathering of Grey Seals at the Sound, I've never seen so many
around Kitterland before, there must have been nearly a hundred.
The signs of spring have also increased, singing Willow Warblers
and Chiff Chaffs, plus my first Sand Martin sighting of the year.
Also seen were Red Legged Partridge, Chough, Wallabies, Hen
Harriers, Gannets and Brent Geese.
21st March 2010
A lovely weekend of
wildlife watching. We are in that exciting time of new arrivals and remaining winter visitors. There are Brent
Geese, Bar-Tailed Godwits and Turnstones who will move to their summer
locations soon. The Gannets have returned and it's great to
see them plunge diving from our coast. Skylarks, Pipits and
Curlew are singing. There have been many other sightings and
it's all been wonderful to see. Other highlights were Red Necked
Wallabies, Grey Seals, Hen Harrier, Chough and seeing the Raven chicks
being fed at the Chasms.
11th March 2010
The Rissos Dolphins are
back! I was on a lunch break from the office and went to Marine
Drive to eat my sandwiches when a large dorsal fin emerged from the
calm shimmering sea. It is always an exciting heart raising
moment. I watched two circling closely together at the surface,
which was unusual behavior. Then the large grey adult swam away,
keeping close to the surface and giving great views as it swam below
me. This is the first sighting of the season and hopefully there
will be many more glorious encounters over the next two months.
There were also a dozen Chough acrobatically dancing in the
air, loop the loops creating a whoosh, they must be a bit
miffed to be upstaged in my diary.
7th March 2010
It’s always good
to do something new. This weekend I managed to drive the
‘wildlife wagon’ up onto a high kerb in order to see the
new born wild goats. Unfortunately whilst driving slowly off the
high kerb I managed to manoeuvre my front wheels so they were both off
the ground, which is a problem in a front wheel drive !
Fortunately a good Samaritan passed by and gave me a tow off the kerb
and we were able to continue our trip. I'll not be driving on that kerb
again! Plenty of birds of prey about, including Hen Harrier,
Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. Grey and Common Seals, Chough and
Curlew, plus my first singing Skylark of the year.
1st March 2010
The Ravens are now sitting on their nests at both
Marine Drive and The Chasms, they are certainly early birds when
it comes to brooding. There was also an exciting sight of a
Kestrel being mobbed in flight by some vocal Pipits, however the
Kestrel didn't seem too concerned by his noisy followers. There
were also Seals, Black Guillemot, Whooper Swans and Chough seen about.
I checked some of my most reliable Common Lizard locations, but
it's still a little too chilly for them to appear. I really enjoy
every day out now, it's such a wonderful time of year to be in the
21st February 2010
A good mix of sightings
this weekend. An acrobatic pod of Bottlenose Dolphins topped the
charts... just a shame they were far off shore, so we only saw
some big splashes and distant dorsal fins. Chough, Fulmar, Tufted
Duck and Grey Seals were also about. The Ravens nest at Marine
Drive is now fully built and the parents are raucous in their defense
of their territory. Gulls and Jackdaws were soon chased off if
they dared to pass near the nest.
15 February 2010
There seemed to be a bit of warmth in the sun today, a
new feeling this year. We have Razorbills gathering at Marine Drive and it will
soon be time for our Risso’s Dolphins to make a welcome return to our shores. I
enjoyed watching a Kestrel sat on a fence post today, it seemed quite happy to
look at me as I looked at him. I also saw Fulmar, Chough, Ravens, Wild Wallabies and lots of
birds in song.
Seal update – Haddock and her friends have now moved to
their outdoor enclosure at the MSPCA where there is a large sunken pool for them
to swim in. It is like their own hot tub area (without the heat or the bubbles), all they
need are deck chairs, lilos and a diving board. Anyone can visit Haddock and check out the pool party.
8 February 2010
There seems to be a lot more life in the countryside now.
Snowdrops are flowering in the churchyards and the birds are finding their
voices, there was the chatter of Long Tailed Tits, Mistle Thrush and Greenfinch
when I was in my car-park this morning. . Also seen today, there were Grey
Seals (not in my car-park!), Brent Geese and lots of waders (particularly Curlew
and Oystercatchers). It’s still a bit chilly out there though, particularly
when you are heading into the brisk northerly wind on the coast, brrrrrr.
2nd February 2010
are still lots of wintering waders and wildfowl about, plus the
occasional seal. My seal at the MSPCA is looking very well now,
in fact one of my 'friends' accused her of being fat. How dare he
! It's an exciting point of the year, like being on the starting
blocks of a race waiting for the gun to go and spring into
life. I'm on the look out for my first Snowdrop sightings, then
I'll looking for nesting Ravens and a whole host of woodland flowers.
It all starts here.
24th January 2010
Fenella Beach at Peel
was interesting today. A flock of busy Turnstones were doing as
their name suggests, flicking over stones in search of hiding insects.
There were also Grey Wagtails and Meadow Pipits, with a couple of
little rarities amongst them, a pair of Black Redstarts. They
look a little like Robins but with a soft grey plumage and
red tail feathers (usually only visible in flight). I also
saw Wallabies in the Curragh, Goldeneye in Ramsey Bay and a Hen Harrier
at the Ayres. Then when I went to the Shoprite Supermarket in
Douglas, I saw a Robin above the tinned food aisle !
9th January 2010
fell on Tuesday and it is still around today. This has made the
highland routes unpassable but it has created some winter wonderlands
in the glens. Glen Maye was glorious, icicles hanging down the
walls of the glen and the sides of the waterfall glistened with ice.
The snow is beginning to thaw in the south and this has created a
green haven for hundreds of Lapwings and Curlew. Also seen on
today's tour; Chough, Grey Seal, Golden Plover, Raven and some
miserable ducks who couldn't be bothered to take up the offer
of free bread.
3rd January 2010
hills are currently capped with snow and on a clear day we can look
across to the Lake District and see Scaefell Pike shinning white.
After a few quiet days of wildlife, today was a bit special at
Langness. Teal, Redshank, Brent Geese and Wigeon. There
were also large flocks of Oystercatcher and Curlew. The most
interesting though were the Shelduck who were squabbling and calling,
they will be pairing now and you could see allegiances forming.
Just before I left a flock of Golden Plover whooshed over my
14 December 2009
My seal pup is a TV star! Check out the following link on the BBC site;
It was great fun
working with the local BBC people. First we went to the MSPCA and
tried filming me with Haddock (that's the name of the seal I'm
sponsoring!). Whilst filming me, Haddock jumped out of the water
and splashed me, but unfortunately the footage was too dark to use.
A real shame as it was a comedy moment, even if I did get soaked
in fishy smelling water. Instead we filmed my piece again on
Douglas Head and whilst I was speaking to the camera there were 50
Bottlenose Dolphins heading along the coast beside me. We
quickly finished my piece and I dashed off to see the dolphins leaping
out of the water. There is a great picture taken on www.mwdw.net
of the dolphins.
6th December 2009
the winter you can see one of the most stunning birds here, a male Hen
Harrier. I was driving alongside North Barrule and one flew
beside my car, a brilliant pale grey plumage with black wing tips.
I also saw a female Hen Harrier further along my route before
seeing my first Mountain Hare of the winter (he wasn't fully white, but
had mottled patches of grey, beige and white which provided
surprisingly good camouflage on the hillside).
3rd December 2009
I visited the Grey Seal pups at the MSPCA... how cute are they!
They have all been named now, fortunately they aren't called
Britney, Wayne and Paris. However, why they have called mine
'Haddock' is a bit of a mystery (although she
does smell fishy). I am filming their progress as part
of a 'Seal Diary'
which will form part of a wildlife DVD called 'Wild Mann 2' which I
will be releasing next year (this is the sequel to Wild Mann which I
released in 2005). I already have great footage of Basking
Sharks, dolphins and whales but I am now looking for a little help
from any IOM locals for some additional sections. I would like to
be contacted if you can help with one of the following;
Do you have any unusual wildlife visitors to your garden?
Whether it is a friendly hedgehog, an unusual bird species at
your feeder or maybe you have some regular nesting sites (I would love
to film some Swallows).
Do you get close to wildlife? Maybe you have a Robin which
keeps you company whilst you do your gardening or a Herring Gull which
you have bonded with over the years.
If you think you can help
and you would like to be a part of Wild Mann 2 then I would love
to hear from you. Please send me an e-mail to email@example.com.
22nd November 2009
If it's very windy on the IOM it is said to be, "blowin a hooley!"
and it has been doing just that for the last ten days. But I'm not one for
hiding from the elements even if the wildlife is. Instead I have
been researching our local heritage, history and culture. I will be including
this new knowledge in my future tours. So you could learn about the our unique
folklore, customs or history. Such things like the Manx connections to the Mutiny on the Bounty (Captain
Bligh was married here. Midshipman Heywood lived here and Fletcher Christian had Manx family ties). This weekend I
visited a Tholtan (an old abandoned rural stone cottage), a WW2 training base,
the home of a 7'11'' giant who joined Barnum's circus, Celtic stone crosses and
spooky old graveyards. So during the winter there is lots to see and
do.... even if the wind burn makes your face go red
(a.k.a. 'A Manx Tan').
Whales !!! I saw two today from the east coast feeding in their
usual favourite spot at Bulgham. The weather was lovely
(although cool) and it was easy to spot the whales as they
surfaced. Dolphins are quite abrupt surfacers but Minke's
have a long shallow roll (and they are much bigger). In rough
seas Minke Whales are very difficult to spot as
they resemble waves, but when the sea is flat like today they
stand out clearly and you can watch them without the need of
binoculars from our coastline... no need for a boat ! They
were still in the bay when I left... but I had to go as
it was flippin freezing.
1st November 2009
A wet one today, but there was some relief in the
cover of the Curragh. I managed to beat my previous best for
Wallaby spotting and I totaled an incredible twenty. Although
they all looked soggy and miserable, poor things. This
weekend I also went to the MSPCA to see the arrival of two rescued Grey
Seal pups. One of them is a bit weedy at the moment but hopefully
he'll bulk up after a being fed a few fish. I shall keep you
posted on their progress and hopefully they will both be released back
into the wild in a few months time when they are better.
26th October 2009
Another Monday back in the office with a pile of spreadsheets to look
at. Glum. Then at lunchtime I go for some fresh air and
see...... 80 Bottlenose Dolphins.... whooo hoo !
The dolphins were leaping in one large churning pod, powering
through the water from Douglas Head and then south along Marine Drive
towards Port Soderich. There were a couple of yachts sitting
in the water and waiting for the dolphins to pass, what an experience
it must have been for them as they were surrounded by these fast
cetaceans. I must have seen ten full breaches out of the water by
some of the bigger animals. Acrobatically spinning out of the
water and landing with a splash.
Then I had to go
back to work for the afternoon.... sigh. I wish I was a dolphin.
17th October 2009
I visited Glen Maye and met some friends to see the
Dipper again. What followed was quite bizarre. We spotted
the Dipper and watched it for a couple of minutes, then one of my
friends said a Stoat had just ran in front of her, which is unusual in
its own right. But suddenly there was a scrabbling noise in the
tree next to us, we looked up and saw two Sparrowhawks fighting in the
branches. It was quite a surreal moment as we just stood and
watched the Sparrowhawks before they flew off. Also seen
this weekend were Grey Seals (they are pupping now), Wild Wallabies,
Chough and a Peregrine. The winter waders have also arrived so
there were Sanderling, Turnstone and Golden Plover at the Ayres.
11th October 2009
I saw my very first Dipper today which was a bit special, these
Starling sized birds certainly deserve their name. Bouncing up and down
on the riverside and then dipping underwater. Attractive little
things as well, with a shiny dark top coat and white chest. Also
seen this weekend were Gannets, Common Lizards, Wild Goats, Chough
(lots), Grey Seals and Ravens. I should see some Minke Whales
during the next month as it is now the Herring spawning season (so
where there's food, the whales will follow). I did get excited
earlier today when I saw a big splash on the water surface, but instead
I realised it was a mini tornado scooting over the sea...
another first for me.
4th October 2009
This weekend there were Common Lizards, Red Admirals, Swallows and
Gannets, but I got the sad thought I would not see them again this
year as they hibernate or migrate. However, on a positive
note I can now look forward to seeing our winter arrivals and
today I enjoyed a great spectacle as 200+ geese churned the air above
my head. Also there were acrobatic Ravens, Grey Seals,
Chough, Kestrel and our Wild Goats are starting their rut. At
least all of these will stay and keep me company over the months
28th September 2009
Our wild wallabies are noisy creatures, I'm not sure whether they do it
on purpose. It could be they bang and crash through the
undergrowth to warn other wallabies of approaching danger. We saw
seven wallabies this evening, some of them very close, some of them
hopping about. We also saw Brown Hares and a Hen Harrier.
Great sightings for great guests.... there
was a lot of laughter during this tour.
20th September 2009
I've just returned from a relaxing break in the Lake
District, whilst there I spotted a few species we don't normally see
here, such as Jays, Buzzards and Grey Squirrels. Today I went
walking back on the IOM, I
saw Peregrine Falcon, Gannets, Grey Seal and a flock of 14 Chough, so
you win some and you lose some.... but I'm more than happy with
my wildlife patch and wouldn't swap it for anywhere else in the world.
6th September 2009
Today's tour were witness to a great flight display today, watching
a Kestrel pursue a fleeing Linnet. The Kestrel had three good darts and swoops
but the Linnet managed to escape by plunging into the undergrowth.
However, the Kestrel didn't go hungry as moments later he was seen
flying off with a mouse in his clutches.
There were also Grey Seals (very close), Sandwich Terns,
Gannet, Brown Hare, Raven and a patrolling Hen
Harrier. Wildlife isn't always so obliging when it comes to
spotting, such as the camouflaged Dunlin and Ringed Plover on the
shingle beach (they just looked like little brown stones) and a Wallaby
who was hiding in the Curragh. Fortunately I have eyes like
a hawk !
30th August 2009
The Isle of Man is currently in a transition period where we say
farewell to the Basking Sharks and hello to the Minke Whales.
There have been sighting of both species during the weekend, but
unfortunately not by me! But I have seen lots of other wildlife
whilst driving around the Island, such as Common & Grey Seals,
Little Egret, Kittiwake, Curlew, Chough, Gannets, Hen Harrier, Manx
Shearwaters and Brown Hares. My best sighting this week was
seeing a Kestrel plunge into a field after a Rabbit, but the Rabbit was
too a big a challenge and it hopped away safely.
15th August 2009
It was good to see a few species I've not seen for a while, such as
Wheatear and Whitethroat. There have also been Gannets, Grey Seals, Curlew,
Common Lizards and lots of Wallabies. I am starting to get the feeling though
that summer is almost over as the footpaths in the glens start to get a covering
of leaves. I have also just noticed that the Maple tree outside my window is
starting to go autumnal.... oh dear.
P.S. For anyone who has been following the local Manx news, I was
pleased to hear that the Sparrowhawk trapped in Tescos has eventually
escaped. I'm not sure why birds like to explore shops... I
always remember Woollies being full of Pigeons (they went in there for
the dropped pieces of pic-n-mix rather than the CDs).
6th August 2009
Wow, what an amazing day. I was with members of the Basking Shark conference and
we saw Hen Harriers and Kestrel on the Manx tartan landscape at the Sloc. There were
sharks at Peel and on the way back we called into Niarbyl..... there
were more than twenty Basking Sharks in the bay !!! That's more sharks than I have ever
seen in one group in my life. Fins were glistening in the sun all across the
bay and it was an awesome sight. Then a Chough flew over our heads... I
couldn't have planned a better trip if I had tried.
26th July 2009
A lovely weekend of tours driving to different places all over the
Island. We have seen Basking Sharks, seabirds and lots of
seals. We visited historical sites, wandered through shady
woodland glens and watched the waves crash on the rocks. It is
also been lots of fun, I have met great people this weekend
who have been a pleasure to take around (this always seems to
be the case... wildlife people are wonderful company).
One highlight of this weekend was when one guest pointed to what
she thought was a seal... and it turned out to be a duck.
The other was finishing the Sunday tour on a water powered magic
roundabout. Every trip is a different adventure.
24th July 2009
Today I saw a large group of ten wild Wallabies bounding
around the swampy wetland in the Curragh. A very exciting experience and one
which is probably unique in Europe. Whilst writing this diary entry I started
to think, "what is the collective term for a group of Wallabies?" There is a
'Crash' of Rhinoceros, a 'Leap' of Leopards and a 'Parliament' of Owls. So I
have decided if I ever see another large group of our Manx marsupials I will
name them collectively as a 'Bounce' of Wallabies. After all, that's what they
seem to do best.
19th July 2009
There were seals all over the place today; Langness, The
Sound and Peel all had 10+ seals, mostly hauled out on the rocks and
scratching. There were also some of those 'un-common' Common
Seals. Basking Sharks were swimming about with two at
Niarbyl and two close ones at Peel. It would have been even more
spectacular if we had seen the seven Rissos Dolphins in the south,
but I was greeted by a good friend with the following dreaded
sentence.......... "You should have been here an hour ago!"
15th July 2009
My Basking Shark count is still ticking along nicely
but I might not reach the optimistic total of 100 sharks this year.
Four spotted tonight off Peel, including a tiddler in Fennella Bay. My
total tally for 2009 is up to 39 sightings, not bad, but I'm hoping for
a few big sharks groups to give me a boost before they migrate away in
14th July 2009
A lovely warm calm evening. Lots of wildlife to see
including Grey Seal, Gannets, Little Terns, Common Lizards and a very good
Wallaby sighting... although it didn't stick around long enough to get it's photo taken.
Summer flowers are now in full show with Pyramidal Orchids, Harebells,
Sheepsbit and Wild Thyme carpeting the sandy dunes.
6th July 2009
An amazing evening out watching Basking Sharks only a
few meters from shore. We also saw plunge diving Gannets, lots of
young fledgling sea birds and good numbers of Grey Seals.
5th July 2009
I went up to the Ayres today, I parked, got out of my car
and then was nearly pecked on the head by an Arctic Tern. Usually you are safe
in the parking area.... blimey. Lots of other friendly wildlife to see today including
Grey Seals, Gannets, Chough, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Common Lizards, Little
Terns, Kestrel, Skylark and orchids.
23rd June 2009
Sometimes I get complacent about how lucky I am to live on the Isle of Man.
Tonight I walked in a meadow with thousands of orchids and then stood by
a serene smooth sea in the warm evening sunshine whilst porpoise pattered the
sea surface and a Basking Shark fin sparkled back from the distance. Little
Terns and Gannets flew by and the only noise was the sound of singing Skylarks
and the soft crackle of lapping waves. A beautiful evening to appreciate all I
21st June 2009
Do you fancy a walk? If so I am providing four
coastal walks next week. Monday 29th June will around Peel,
Wednesday 1st July Castletown, 2nd July Baldrine and finally 3rd July
from Port St Mary to Port Erin. If you are interested in any of
these free guided walks then please contact me for further details.
14th June 2009
We've had a barren spell of shark sightings this week, but
there are still lots of other wildlife to see. Hen Harriers, Arctic Terns, Grey Seals
and great views of Chough to name a few. The summer flowers are now
emerging, with beautiful orchids appearing at the Ayres and along some of our
verges. There is also good news about the nesting Oystercatchers, with
the carpark family from the Ayres having two successful fledglings leave during
the week, we all wish Gladys (nice name for an Oystercatcher) and her offspring
all the best for the future. Hopefully the Basking Sharks will return next
week... after all we are the best place in the British Isles to see them.
7th June 2009
The great thing about this time of year is the
emergence of youngsters. Shag chick are looking like aliens,
Shelduck and Oystercatchers are incredibly cute and then the Curlew
young are like Kiwi birds but with spotty camouflage like fluffy
2nd June 2009
A choughin fantastic outing. A lovely warm barmy evening with seven
Basking Sharks, great views of over 10+ Chough plus lots of other seabirds and
wildlife. The flowers are stunning at the moment, we stopped at one location
and saw Sundew (an insectivorous plant), Yellow Rattle and emerging Heath
Spotted Orchids all within a short walk.
29th May 2009
Another good mix of species seen during today's evening
tour. Peregrine Falcon, Common Lizard, Wild Wallaby, Grey Seals and Basking
Sharks were all spotted. We also enjoyed the baby bunnies, Skylark and
Dunlin..... and the fish n chips at Peel.
25th May 2009
Where else in the world could you see the following during one Bank
Holiday Monday afternoon... Basking Sharks, Wild Wallabies,
Little & Arctic Terns, Grey Seals, Common Lizards, Willow Warblers,
Gannets, Skylarks and Brown Hares. All these creatures and more
were spotted by today's tour group on this wildlife smorgasbord.
My 2009 Basking Shark count is already up to 12
and we are not even into June yet. If this continues throughout the summer I
might be able to get up to 100 sightings this year, which would be a personal
22nd May 2009
There are lots of Basking Sharks around the Isle of
Man now and we have had sightings on all tours this week. We even
had one swim so close to the coast it nearly bumped its nose on the
rocks (one of the tourists said he wasn't expecting to be splashed by a
shark!). There have also been plunge diving Gannets and Sandwich
Terns. Good sightings of Chough, Seals and nesting
Oystercatchers, plus lots of other great wildlife and natural
landscapes. The other great thing are the people I have been
taking out. Wildlife enthusiasts have to be the nicest people
17th May 2009
You know you are in the wild when a Hen Harrier swoops over your head !
Also out today were the usual Grey Seals, Common Lizards and
plunge diving Gannets. Little, Arctic and Sandwich Terns and
Great Northern Divers were at the coast. Inland there were birds in
song, including Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Skylark.
My favourite part of the trip though was
seeing an Oystercatcher sat on her nest....... in the middle of a nature reserve
carpark (it looked very bizarre!). The warden has kindly cordoned off the area with
tape, so the carpark is off limits for a couple of weeks. Hopefully we will
have some chicks running around the carpark in a week's time.
10th May 2009
No bookings today so I took myself out on a solo tour. I
spotted my first Basking Sharks of the season feeding within the tidal currents
on the west coast. There were large nesting colonies of Guillemot and Razorbills
to enjoy, plus the usual Chough, Seals and Gannets. The woodlands are stunning
with Bluebells and Wild Garlic in their prime and I heard my first Whitethroat
of the year. A fabulous day out... just a shame there wasn't anyone to share
it with !
2nd May 2009
More sun and fun on the Isle of Man. All the usual
sightings today (Chough, Grey Seals and Gannets) plus plunge diving
Sandwich Terns, seeing a Shag on a nest with eggs and an extraordinary
number of Herons (everywhere we went, there was a Heron). There
were also a few Common Seals at the Sound (they ain't that common
here). The group finished the day with a bit of a sing song to
'The Laxey Wheel' and ice-creams (to take away the taste of eating Wild
26th April 2009
There are various Manx folklores relating to spring and
one is about hearing the first Cuckoo of the year. As soon as you
hear the Cuckoo you should look down and if you are stood on grass it
is lucky, the taller the grass, the luckier it is. Today I
heard my first Cuckoo, looked down and I was stood on grass, but it was quite
short. However there was taller grass ahead. I
don't know whether good luck would be reversed by cheating and taking a
leap into the undergrowth, but I didn't chance it.
Lots of singing
birds today; Grasshopper Warbler, Blackcap, Chiff Chaff, Mistle Thrush,
Willow Warbler and Skylark. Plus the usual Seals, Chough, Common Lizard and
seabirds. Spring has been wonderful this year, with sunshine and fantastic wildlife to enjoy.
19th April 2009
The lovely sunny Isle of Man, we have enjoyed
fantastic weather all week. A great tour today with plenty of
sightings and different habitats. Wild Wallaby, Common Lizard,
Grey Seal, Sandwich Terns (plunge diving), singing Blackcaps and Willow
Warblers, and nesting Fulmar and Raven. I may now have to apply
10th April 2009
One of the best tours ever. A combination
of fun people and fantastic wildlife. Common Sandpiper,
Chough, Seals, Lizards, Chiff Chaff, Gannet and Brent Geese (shouldn't
they be heading north now?) . The highlight was being witness to a
flock of Golden Plover and suddenly seeing a Peregrine Falcon swoop in
and take one. The perfect day out was completed with icecreams in
the sunshine, whilst listening to tales of one guest's meeting with
7th April 2009
sightings today, although some were a bit quick due to the breeze.
Little Egret, Raven, Chough, Gannet, Kestrel, Guillemot,
Turnstone, Kittiwake, Redshank and Brent Geese. We also had close
views of a friendly Peel Seal and a Common Lizard at The Sound (Lizards
1 - Wildlife Tours 1). Glen Maye was a highlight, brightened
with Lesser Celandine and Wood Sorrel (dainty and beautiful). A
great day out full of fantastic habitats and lots of wildlife.
5th April 2009
The first Swallows of spring seen at the Ayres.
28th March 2009
The wind made today's tour a bit exciting, especially
around Peel Castle with waves crashing over the cliffs. Apart from
the occasion smattering of sea spray, the day was dry and we had a fun and enjoyable
tour. There were close views of a Grey Seal, plus Curlew, Gannet, Raven, Wheatear and
several fleeting sightings of Chough.
There may have been a Common
Lizard as well.... but he legged it before anyone else could get a decent sighting.
Lizards 1 - Wildlife Tour 0.
22nd March 2009
Another great day out. March is proving to be
one of the best months for tours. Common Lizards, Harbour
Porpoise, Grey Seals, Cattle Egret, Wheatear (first of this year) and
Chough. The IOM is a great place to live.
21st March 2009
Three Rissos seen this morning. If it continues at this increasing rate my next sighting should involve four Rissos.
I also won the lottery as predicted.... a fiver won on Euromillions.... joy.
20th March 2009
The IOM has been stunning this week. Yesterday I saw more Rissos,
two this time at Marine Drive. I heard my first Chiff Chaff
of the year and Comma Butterfly on Wood Anemone. Common
Lizards, Grey Seals, Gannets and Chough were all at The Sound.
There were also Curlew, Buzzard, Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon.
Some of our Winter visitors are still around but soon our Brent Geese
and Wigeon will depart.
16th March 2009
Yesterday I mentioned I was hoping to
see Rissos Dolphins.... and today I saw one. I wonder
if this works with other things. This week I am also hoping to
also win the lottery....
15th March 2009
Lapwings, Little Egret, Shelduck (in courtship),
Chough, Raven, Teal and lots of Curlew.... and that was just the
first location on today's tour. A fabulous day out, I
chatted with one chap in Langness as Skylarks and Pipits sang
and displayed around us and he said, "I find it all so uplifting."
I couldn't have put it better myself.
40+ Grey Seals and passing Fulmar and Gannet at the
Sound. I thought it would have been warm enough for Common
Lizards to bask today, but I will have to wait
longer for my first reptile sighting of the year. I am also
hoping to see my first Rissos Dolphin of 2009 soon... there is so
much to look forward to.
9th March 2009
We visited a few glens today which are full of Daffodils,
Lesser Celandine and Wild Garlic. The Rooks are noisily gathering
nesting material and the ducks are getting frisky. Robins,
Blackbirds and Wrens are vocal, accompanied by
Coal Tits and Dunnock
At the coast we saw Gannets, Eider,
Redshank, Curlew and Chough. There have been sightings of an Orca and Rissos
Dolphins during the last week. It is all about being in the right place at the
right time.... I was in the wrong place at the time, stuck in the office.
1st March 2009
I saw my first local Buzzard (the IOM has lots of Hen Harriers
but we seldom see Buzzards). This particular Buzzard was being
harassed by Herring Gulls - our gulls do not always adhere to our normal
friendly Manx welcome. Other sightings included Kestrel, Gannet,
Curlew, Stonechat, Raven and Grey Seals.
Daffodils and Lesser Celandine are in flower and I foraged my
first Wild Garlic of the year. Later I had my 'Stinking Rogers'
in a prawn sandwich, yum.
Finished at Ballaugh for excellent Wild Wallaby sightings. Soon the Wallabies will be more difficult to
spot as the undergrowth becomes more leafy. The last part of my day was spent
surrounded by Long Tailed Tits, lovely little birds and when flocking can
be noisy (like being surrounded by hyperactive squeaky toys).
22nd February 2009
Large numbers of beasts about today.
Sixteen Chough flew over my head at the coast, before a pair
broke off to hassle a Raven. In the south there
were 40+ Grey Seals, two Peregrines, lots of seabirds and Curlew.
On the phenology front I saw my first spring Gannet and at Marine
Drive there were a pair of Shags living up to their names... at it in
broad daylight, have they no shame, somebody could have been
19th February 2009
A good week for wildlife
watching. The highlight was 10+ Harbour Porpoise feeding
excitedly on a bait ball off Marine Drive.
Seabirds gathered like a thick patch on the sea,
plunging and scampering over the feast. The Ravens, Fulmar and
Shags are showing signs of nest building at various locations.
Spring lambs are in the fields, the Wild Goats have kids on the
cliffs and plant buds are rising through the soil. It
feels like spring when standing on the coast in the sunshine.
8th February 2009
Our mountain tops may be snow capped , but there are signs spring approaching. Birds are singing and
I think I saw a Raven fly past with nesting material. Black
Guillemots are showing their summer plumage and Fulmar are
gathering on the rocky ledges. This weekend also provided
sightings of Seals, Hen Harrier, Kestrel, Snipe and lots of Chough.
The Manx public are currently discussing the implementation of a Marine
Nature Reserve on the IOM similar to the one at Lundy. Someone
tell the Seals that good times are coming !
25th January 2009
Snowdrops! Woo hoo, spring is nearly here.
It has been a lovely weekend on the IOM with clear blue skies on
both days. Grey Seals, Wild Wallabies,
Turnstone, Sanderlings, Razorbill and Sparrowhawk. Ravens
are busy in flight displays, swooping and soaring. At The Ayres
large numbers of Curlew and Oystercatchers.
I wonder when I will see my first Daffodil... exciting.
18th January 2009
There were only a few creatures willing to brave the windy cold weather
today. Sightings included Wigeon, Eider, Grey Seal, Shelduck, Razorbill and
Black Guillemot (sheltering close to Peel breakwater).
However, it will
soon be spring again and lots to look forward to. There's the
Bluebells in Ballaglass, the Squill and Thrift at Langness and then the orchids
at the Ayres. March really sees the start of the new year for me, when the
Ravens, Moorhens and Mallards start nest building and have their young. Then it will be time for the
first migrants to arrive, usually my first indicator will be a
Wheatear or the call of a Chiff Chaff. Then once again we will have lots of fabulous Basking Sharks.
If you are thinking of taking a holiday in the IOM, I would recommend
you go to the following website, www.visitisleofman.com for information
of places to stay and transport. They also give you some ideas of things to do.
However, if you have a question regarding your holiday plans and you
think I might be able to help you, then please feel free to send me an e-mail.
4th January 2009
Happy New Year!
The holidays have given me several opportunities to get
out. At one location I saw over 20
different species of birds (including a large flock of Chough, Brent
Geese and my first local Little Egret sighting). Also Wild Wallabies, Grey Seals plus Curlew, Wigeon and
The most exciting moment was witnessing a Merlin pursuing a
Skylark for a couple of minutes above my head. To see
this struggle acted out with my own eyes was an amazing
experience. During the up and down pursuit, the
Skylark tried to get higher than the falcon, occasionally chirping
(presumably to show he was still strong). But the Merlin
continually managed to swoop back and there were several close attacks.
The excitement ended when they both
descended near gorse, the Merlin took a final swoop, there
was a plume of feathers
and the Skylark dived into the gorse. Intriguingly, the Merlin
flew off without it's prey and I didn't know whether the
Skylark suffered a fatal blow. I hope he will live to fly
7th December 2008
It was a
bright weekend assisted by a brisk fresh wind which helped blow away
the cobwebs. The wildlife featured beauty and beasts. We
have scruffy Eiders in winter plumage and our Herring Gulls look
like they slept overnight in a bin (possibly some of our Douglas ones
had). The beauties are the Waxwings and Chough who provided me
with wonderful close views of their stunning plumage. I also saw
Shelduck, Black Redstart, Curlew, Raven and lots of Grey Seals
There were more dolphin sightings this week... not by me, I must add.
30th November 2008
Lots of sightings today including, Lapwing, Stonechat,
Great Northern Diver, Wigeon, Curlew, Meadow & Rock Pipit, Chough,
Kestrel, Shelduck, Brent Geese and lots of Grey Seals. It's been
such a lovely weekend it's a real shame to have to go back to the
29th November 2008
No tour bookings this weekend so I took myself out on a
solo outing. A real shame no one else joined me, as it
was good fun. The best part of my trip was watching a
Kingfisher hunting and diving for fish for about thirty minutes.
The contrast in colours was stunning, when facing me the
Kingfisher displayed a beautiful golden orange chest,
but whilst in flight there was a dazzling electric
blue stripe on its back. There were more feathered friends out today;
Goldeneye, Wigeon, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Goldcrest and Fieldfare.
It was a crisp, clear and sunny Manx day so
I could see the snow capped Scottish Mountains far across the sea. I
completed my day out by watching a wild Wallaby.
P.S. This week 100+ Bottlenose Dolphins visited the IOM. I
was stuck in my office at the time and missed seeing them...
grrrr. For more details regarding this wonderful spectacle,
please go to www.mwdw.net.
21st November 2008
I had a educational day out in the Ballaugh Curraghs
with a wonderful couple of local experts who have holiday cottage
accommodation in the area (you can visit their site at
www.closetaggart.co.uk and learn about their special place in the
wild). We saw three wild Red Necked Wallabies and two Hen
Harriers, plus Goldcrest and a troop of calling Long Tailed Tits.
The Curragh was brightened by the autumnal Royal Ferns, Bracket
Fungus and lichens. I also had a new experience 'hugging a tree'
as it swayed in the wind, this is something I will definitely share
with people on my tours in the future.
16th November 2008
The IOM often provides surprises and today was no exception.
a northern tour I saw a White Stork. This is the second time I've seen one of
these magnificent creatures here (the last time was during 2006), this time
though he was stood in a muddy field near Bride. He was sharing the field with
a flock of Herring Gulls who must have been wondering who the big kid was.
With bird migrations you can get unusual species popping up all over the
globe. This is especially so on the Isle of Man, being situated in the middle
of the Irish Sea we are a good refueling stop for any bird who's sat-nav has
gone wrong. Presumably this stork just took a wrong turning at The Netherlands.
Today there were also sightings of Red Throated Diver, Goldeneye, Brown
Hare, Wild Goats, Grey Heron, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Fieldfare, Redwing and Turnstone.
9th November 2008
It's been a bit windy this week ! There were
lots of birds to spot today, large numbers of both Curlew and Golden
Plover at Langness. At Derbyhaven there were Redshank, Pale
Bellied Brent Geese, Oystercatcher and Kestrel. We also saw
Raven, Mute Swan, Greylag Geese, Coot and several Chough. My face
is now glowing red from wind blast.
2nd November 2008
A beautiful sunny Manx day today. I headed north and saw 200+ Golden Plover, 1 Gannet, 2 Chough, 1 Kestrel,
2 Razorbill (winter plumage), 1 Sparrowhawk, 50+
Oystercatchers, 10+ Curlew and 1 Redshank. I completed my tour
with a visit to Bulgham Bay where there were large flurries of
Gulls out to sea (probably 1000+ birds), however I wasn't able to see
any associated Whales or Dolphins.
I completed the day watching the Wild Goats scuttling about on the cliff ledges... watch your footing !
12th October 2008
There's lots of wildlife to see on the IOM during the autumn.
There are still some remnants of our summer wildlife with Common
Lizards and Swallows seen today. Plus we have our winter visitors
now arriving, large numbers of waders
(Oystercatchers/Turnstone/Curlew/Ringed Plover) and wildfowl
(Wigeon/Brent Geese). Plus there's always a chance of seeing a
dolphin or whale at this time of year and I expect the Whale and
Dolphin website to have an influx of sightings in the next few weeks
at www.mwdw.net. Finally we have our local regulars to
see, such as Chough, Hen Harrier and Grey Seals (who will be pupping in
the next few weeks).
So there's lots to see, why not join me and using my local knowledge
I'll take you on a tour and show you some of the best of Manx wildlife
27th September 2008
A lovely September day today. Most lovely was
the welcome return of the Derbyhaven Brent Geese, in fact I think they
may have multiplied over the summer, which is great. Whilst at
Fort Island I witnessed an exciting spectacle of a Peregrine Falcon
darting through the bay and causing the Oystercatchers and Curlew to
erupt into the air in swirling flocks. The action was so fast
though it wasn't possible to see if the falcon caught lunch in amongst
the noise and feathers.
Also whilst out there were sightings of Common
Lizard, Gannet, Kestrel, plenty of Chough, good Grey Seals and
finishing with 50+ Kittiwake which were hiding in a secret spot.
The more times I go out, the more secrets are revealed
and the more I learn about our wonderful wildlife.
I've just noticed that YouTube has an option to 'Watch
in High Quality'. If you would like to view a short film of Manx
wildlife then go to the below link and make sure you watch in High
13th September 2008
I was all a glow today (mainly as I had been on a boat
yesterday watching Minke Whales and getting sun and wind burn).
Unfortunately we didn't get to spot any Minke Whales whilst on the
tour today, but there was plenty of other wildlife around. Wheatear, Gannet, Common
Lizards, Raven, Fulmar, Curlew, Sandwich Terns, Kestrel, Brown Hares and swarms of House
Martins. We also enjoyed a few of the alternative Manx sites including the Manx
Celtic Crosses, Wild Bulgham Goats and Norman Wisdom's house.
and itinerary is always based on the wishes of the guests, it's your tour and I
want to make it a special day for you. Also, by visiting different places all
the time, it makes the tours much more fun for me. I have honestly enjoyed
every single tour I have taken this year and I feel very lucky to live here and
be able to share this wonderful and eclectic island with others.
7th September 2008
The sun made a welcome appearance today (we haven't
seen it for days). We started with good sightings of Chough and Raven, with a
bonus Hen Harrier thrown in. At the north of the Island we enjoyed Common
Lizards, Sandwich Terns, Gannet, Ringed Plover and a very bold Raven (we managed
to get very close as he wasn't willing to fly off and leave his carrion). We
then went to Ballaugh for wallabies but it was quite swampy after the recent
downpours and they must have moved to drier ground. However we did see a Hedgehog
(on the path) and Brown Hare (running on the road). We completed the tour with
a stop at a cascading waterfall and a trip over the mountains, which concluded a
very pleasant day out for all.
P.S. There have recently been a few
cetacean sightings reported, so I'm hoping to see dolphins and whales myself in
the next few weeks (fingers crossed).
2nd September 2008
My local knowledge came in tremendously useful tonight and
changed a normal stroll on the coast into a fantastic wildlife
experience. Over a short stretch of coast there were 2 Peregrine
Falcons (I've seen them hiding on this rocky ledge before), Raven,
Gannet, Fulmar, Great Black Backed Gulls, Kestrel, Stonechat and 3 very
close (but hard to spot) Chough.
It's a real shame so many
people were walking along the same stretch of coast, without being aware of the wildlife around them .
If you would like to see some of my wildlife films I have two on
You Tube. If you search 'Isle of Man Wildlife Tours' it should be the first
entry you find. My newest film features Basking Sharks, with one Shark
swimming close to shore at The Sound. Feedback on the You Tube site would be appreciated. Thanks
31st August 2008
I took a fun group of visitors out in The Wildlife Wagon this
evening. The aroma of aniseed sweets didn't deter the
wildlife at the Ayres, where we saw Gannets, Sandwich Terns, Chough and
Grey Seals. Then on route to Ballaugh we passed a female Hen
Harrier (unfortunately interrupting one of my stories about Norman
Next we went to the remote Ballaugh Curragh undergrowth searching
for wild Red Necked Wallaby. Whilst most of the group crept
towards a Wallaby on the path, one of our group (Kevin) was straggling
behind. He heard the thud, thud, thud of another approaching
Wallaby and was quite shocked to see a Wallaby charging straight at
him. Kevin stood there and called, "Hello!" stopping the Manx
Marsupial in it's tracks. The conversation ended
shortly afterwards as the Wallaby hopped back into the undergrowth.
We concluded the evening at a bat roost, watching them
using infrared, whilst hearing stories of Kevin's dangerous
encounter with the 'Beast of Ballaugh'.
20th August 2008
A warm and calm evening brought out the Common Lizards at their
secret place at the Sound. There were also fifteen Chough at their favourite
'Chough Buffet' and thirty plus Grey Seals (all making noises, some of them
The Isle of Man should soon start to see an
increase in Cetacean sightings which does coincide with the end of the Basking
Shark season. It's been another good year for me with over 64 sharks
spotted during 2008. Hopefully the dolphins will be just as plentiful and
visible during the autumn.
16th August 2008
A great day out out today. We had a bit of
everything in the north, especially pleasing were the Hen Harrier and
Arctic Skua sightings (the Hen Harrier came very close to the Wildlife
Wagon). The Grey Seals along the Ayres coast were very
playful and inquisitive, bobbing up only a couple of metres from shore.
In addition we had sightings of Manx
Shearwater, Sandwich Terns, Gannets (lots plunge diving), Turnstone,
Sanderling, Raven (lots!) and a young Fulmar who will surely fledge
from his nest in the next few days. Members of the tour
also took with them a couple of souvenir coral fossil pebbles they
found at Rue Point. What better way to spend a day on the Isle of
12th August 2008
There really is an amazing amount of wildlife diversity on
Tonight I went into the Curragh at dusk and whilst on the
path, came across three feeding wild wallabies. I quietly positioned myself in
the scrub and watched them for a few minutes before they were spooked by
something and bounded off. One of them though bounced over in my direction and
stopped five metres away. It looked at me with an expression of, 'well, are you
going to feed me, or eat me?'. I did neither and just crept slowly backwards
and disappeared behind the corner leaving her in peace.
It was getting dark so I headed to a Brown Long Eared Bat roost. It's a fantastic location and made even better
with infrared equipment, watching the bats undisturbed in their
dark world. I could see the bats hopping and fluttering around, several of them
gathering at the entrance, before they eventually flew out to feed.
11th August 2008
During a pleasant evening tour we saw large numbers of
Manx Shearwaters and Chough (although the Chough seemed to be making life
difficult for the photographers in the group). The Manx Gorse and Heather are
in full flower making a beautiful patchwork of purple and yellow on the hills.
We also saw Grey and Common Seals, Gannet, Raven (arguing with a Great Black
Back Gull) and Curlew. The group also saw Basking Sharks before the tour
We concluded the trip on magnetic hill in the Wildlife Wagon.
This gives the illusion that you are rolling 'up' a hillside. Although some in
the group didn't appear to be convinced !
3rd August 2008
I introduced today's group to a game of 'Spot the
Lizard'. The first game was won by the Common Lizard who managed
to dash off before any guests had a sighting, but the rematch 5 minutes
later got a few sightings and drew the match 1-1. We also saw a
Basking Shark, Gannets, Fulmar, Curlew, Grey Seals and Chough. For
the entomologists there were Small Copper Butterflies, Six Spot Burnet
and Cinnabar Moth.
One of my group had owned a pair of binoculars for 36 years (hiya
Ian!). I tried them out and noticed they were out of focus on one
of the lenses and adjusted them, had a look around and passed them
back. Ian tried them and commented how much better the focus was.
Apparently they had been out of focus for 36 years.....
We finished the day with a game of 'Spot the Montbretia'....
today was all fun and games. I think we lost count
sightings of this widespread orange flowering invader (even if it is
the scourge of local botanists.... it's still quite pretty).
28th July 2008
It was another sunny day on the Isle of Man and I
decided to take a tour north. The Ayres provided sightings of
Common Lizards, Sandwich Terns, Kestrel, Gannets and Shearwaters.
It was especially pleasing to see young Arctic Terns and Sand
Martins, they seem to have had some success this year. Finished
at Peel for a couple of distant Basking Sharks... and spoke
to one chap who told me how brill it was yesterday at 5pm when
there was 'Sharks Galore'. I'm not sure if he was deliberately
rubbing it in or not.
27th July 2008
The early fog soon dispersed and for the rest of day we had glorious
sunshine. The Grey Seals have been very entertaining recently,
moaning, whining and howling as they lumber around on the rocks.
There were also sightings of Sandwich & Arctic Terns,
Gannet, Chough, Black Guillemot and Kittiwake. I was surprised
that we never saw any Basking Sharks during our tour (we must be one of
the only places in the world where we expect to see them). It was
also annoying to find out that Peel became chocker with
Sharks a mere 3 hours after we left. I'm going to have a word
with the Sharks about their punctuality.
21st July 2008
I've been educating myself recently with a course at the
college entitled, 'Know Your Island'. A fascinating mix of Manx geology,
archeology and nature. Tonight we had a field trip around Langness
(just like being at school again, ace). Langness is a regular haunt of mine,
but I explored a couple of new areas, including a wander through the salt
marshes and seeing an old abandoned mine entrance.
When I got the chance
I grabbed one of the lecturers to identify some of my beach finds, which
includes fossilised coral and ammonites. Apparently one of my unidentified
bones I have is actually a lobster claw. Bizarre.
I also managed to
squeeze in a few wildlife sightings, including Chough, Raven, Reed Bunting,
Skylark and Curlew.
16th July 2008
Not sure if a couple of swimming Harbour Porpoise
qualifies as my much anticipated dolphin sighting... I'm also not sure what
made an enormous splash out to sea from The Sound (although it was very likely
to be a breaching Basking Shark).
But I am very sure we saw five Basking
Sharks tonight, lots of Grey Seals, Chough and Gannets...... and it most
definitely rained when we got to Peel. I have a soggy set of clothes to prove that !
15th July 2008
This evening I auditioned for a TV advert which will promote nature on
the IOM. Not sure if TV is ready for me, but I'm always willing
to give things a go. It's a good initiative anyway, Manx wildlife
would welcome the promotion, so best of luck to whoever gets the role.
But I hope it's me!
After my screen test I decided to take a quick tour of the west
coast. A stroll around Peel provided good views of Grey Seals,
Fulmar and Guillemot. Next I took a walk around the Raggat which
was lit up with flowers, although I suppose I shouldn't be so happy
to see flowering Japanese Knotweed.
Niarbyl was my last stop. There were plunge diving Gannet and a
large raft of Shags out to sea. Then a big dorsal fin
approached from the north, as a Basking Shark swam towards the tail of
rocks. It was proceeded by five more sharks. One of the
sharks closely trailed another, which indicated courtship, this
activity lasted 15 minutes.
At one stage there were three sharks involved (a fish ménage et
trois?). The shark couple then swam off into the sunset
like the end of a romantic movie. I wonder if I'll
to the wedding?
13th July 2008
Today I focused on ornithology in the north. First stop was at
Ballaragh, which was peaceful and sunny (yet lacking in
wildlife). Maughold was great with overhead Chough, chattering
Fulmar and Razorbills on the sea. A male Linnet with red chest in
full splendor was singing from the European gorse.
My favourite part of the day was at the Point of Ayre. There were
20+ Arctic Terns flying around noisily when I arrived, making their
sharp clicking noises and screeches. They were warning off humans
and passing gulls, protecting their surviving young from danger.
I scanned the shingle with my telescope and saw two fluffy chicks on
the far side. It’s such a wonderful relief to see them
doing well, as they have a difficult time with human disturbance.
Upon closer inspection I saw another chick, before I was chased off by
the good parents.
Ballaghennie now has a reserved area for the Little Tern nests, but I
felt it was best to leave them undisturbed. Offshore there were
Gannets, Guillemot and Sandwich Terns, and on the heathland there were
noisy grasshoppers, Pyramidal Orchids and Wild Thyme. At Rue
Point there were Oystercatcher, Sandwich Tern and more Arctic Terns
(who chased me off again). I also found a pebble containing
fossilised coral to add to my geology collection.
Finished the day at Peel for close views of Grey Seals and
Eiders. Earlier in Peel, some lucky people saw Basking Sharks in
courtship and possibly mating (involving a lot of thrashing
tails). It’s all happening on the Isle of Man….
6th July 2008
Another good tour today with the wildlife wagon at capacity for the
first time this year. Langness was our first destination, with a
relaxing stroll watching the waders and seabirds. Rock Pipits
were displaying all around us with their parachuting descents.
There were also Chough, Raven and Great Black Backed Gull. The
Grey Seals at the Sound were bobbing in the clear blue sea and Gannets
were regularly passing.
Niarbyl was the sunny destination for lunch as young Gannets were
plunge diving in the bay. Then from a higher viewpoint we spotted
distant sharks on the horizon, their black triangular fins cutting
through the calm shimmering sea. We concluded at Peel for another
Basking Shark, allowing the entire group to have sightings (I
don’t like it if someone misses out).
In summary, a very enjoyable day out with a good group of people.
However, I think I am overdue a
dolphin sighting now ! There was a report of a Minke Whale off
Dalby later in the day. For Manx whale and dolphin sighting,
check out the following website; www.mwdw.net
3rd July 2008
Tonight, I took a group from my work on a tour (during the day I have
an office job). First we stopped at Fort Island, for sightings of
Grey Seal, plunge diving Gannet and a static Grey Heron (maybe it was
one of those plastic garden ones). The Sound was quite eerie,
with 30+ Grey Seals moaning and groaning on Kitterland, chattering
Chough and the distant croak of a Raven. The lively bunny
population also entertained us. We then drove through the mist on
the Sloc which cleared at the Round Table, where we viewed the Heath
We finished at Peel for fish and chips, and whilst parked at Fennella
Bay eating our supper, I looked up and saw a Basking Shark on the
horizon. After a quick walk to a better viewpoint we established
there were five individual sharks, which was a wonderful finale to a
28th June 2008
always a wonderful start to any tour as it provides a wild
experience. No spectacular sightings (it
has been a couple of months since I have seen a dolphin), but it is still a
pleasure to see Gannet, Raven, Linnet, Stonechat and a few baby bunnies. I took an unusual history detour at Scarlett
to visit an Iron Age fort and walk amongst the rock formations (we have pillow
lava neighbouring limestone).
On the way
to the Sound there were Mute Swans and signet, Shelduck and Sandwich
Terns. Lolloping Grey Seals at
Kitterland (they seem to have multiplied; we must have some Irish seal
visitors). They were calling, groaning
and generally lazing around like fluffy boulders. Nothing quite chills out like a seal. Managed to spot a Common Lizard but the grass
is getting longer now, creating a new game, 'Spot the lizard
before it spots you... and dashes off'.
Today…. the lizard won.
Cushlin the orchids are in final flower.
A bit of patience at Peel rewarded me with a Basking Shark
sighting. If you know where to look and you
are prepared to spend thirty minutes searching, then you really give yourself a
Manx wildlife day... although no Chough seen today which is very unusual on the IOM.
20th June 2008
was full of the chatter of Oystercatchers, as they squabbled over the
affections of a woman. Also, young Raven, Stonechat, Linnets and Skylark. On
route there were Cormorant, Sandwich Tern and Shelduck. The Sound was great, with three Basking
Sharks and the Grey Seals, Gannet and Chough. Not much to see at Niarbyl, but Glen Maye was
pleasant and relaxing (maybe the spray from the waterfall has medicinal
properties). I finished at Peel for
Eider, Black Guillemot, Fulmar and Kittiwake.
15th June 2008
The Ayres provided Arctic, Sandwich & Little Terns,
Lizards, Gannet and Willow Warbler. Then
I headed off to Peel to see if yesterdays recorded sightings would help
me. They did! Within 5 minutes of walking the north Peel headland,
I saw my first Basking Shark. Then
around the corner, there were three kayakers drifting beside another larger
shark. It must have been an awesome
experience for them to be beside this huge creature, which was easily bigger
than their kayaks.
14th June 2008
myself on a quick trip to the south. At
the Sound there were Common Lizard, Raven and Gannets ( plunge diving so
close they scare you). On my journey
back north I had wonderful view of Chough and at Niarbyl there were singing
Whitethroat. Peel was the star of the
day with lovely close views of a female Grey Seal, plus Black Guillemot, Eider
and fledglings. In the harbour I managed
to spot a buoy packed with Sandwich Terns, they are quite noisy little
after my proud boast earlier about guaranteed Basking Shark sightings, I failed
to see one today. Mainly to do with the
lumpy sea state and force four winds, but when I got home I checked www.manxbaskingsharkwatch.com
to see if anyone else had more luck.
There were a few sightings just north of Peel, so I made a mental note
to check there tomorrow.
8th June 2008
It was another
lovely sunny day (we have had great weather for the last 4 weeks whilst
it has been raining in the south of England). I started the tour with
Basking Sharks at Peel, at this time of year when the weather is calm
we can be guaranteed sightings on the Isle of Man. So far I have seen
over 30 sharks and the season has only begun.
The meadows at Close Sartfield are currently full of thousands of
orchids. The Island is looking stunning at the moment. There were 40+
Sandwich Terns at Rue Point, and 10+ Arctic Terns at the Point of Ayre.
Plus a small numbers of Common Lizards and passing Guillemots and
Gannet at Ballaghennie. The Port Mooar Grey Seals appear to have moved
on, but there were Whitethroat, Reed Bunting and Linnet to enjoy.
2nd June 2008
I had an evening at the Sound for more sharks, five today and one of
them swam through the channel between Kitterland and The Sound. Not
sure if he wanted to, as the current was quite strong and it seemed to
pull him through. There were two very large 8 metre long sharks near
the Calf. A wonderful evening shared by many TT visitors who
didn’t expect to see Basking Sharks during their biking holiday !
There were also two Harbour Porpoise, plunge diving Gannets and Chough.
Currently the Isle of Man has to be one of the best wildlife holiday
destinations in the world.
1st June 2008
At Ballaglass the large Beech tree canopy is covering the woodland
floor in shade, causing an end to the reign of the Bluebells for
another year. However, this has created a great habitat for many
songbirds, including the seldom seen but often heard Blackcap.
At Maughold there are nesting gulls, passing Chough and a singing
Whitethroat. Next stop was the Point of Ayre for Arctic Terns and
Gannet. At Ballaghennie there have been sightings of Arctic Skuas, but
not for me today. The journey home was made difficult by TT road
closures, however I did manage to visit Peel for Grey Seals, Black
Guillemot and Kittiwake.
I have recently added some of my Isle of Man wildlife film footage to
You Tube. If you type in 'Isle of Man wildlife' you should find it.
Feedback would be welcome!
31st May 2008
Sharks, sharks, sharks ! First Basking Sharks of the season for me. I
saw a total of four sharks over a 2 hour period at The Sound. To begin
with they were hidden away in their favourite spot around the corner,
which is a shame as most tourists won’t see them there. However
they did eventually swim into full view and I pointed them out to many
visitors. Later, one shark approached the gap between Kitterland and
The Sound but just turned away at the entrance. I had my camera ready
so maybe he got camera shy. There were also sightings of Harbour
Porpoise, 40+ Grey Seals and Chough.
In summary, a fantastic day out with fantastic wildlife displays that
you would struggle to see anywhere else in the world. Plus it was a
lovely sunny day… one which required more sun-cream than I
applied. Ouch, my elbow has gone crispy.
20th May 2008
The countryside is vibrant with bird songs, especially Blackcap,
Whitethroat, Skylark and Blackbird. There are ducklings of all sizes
and some scruffy looking Moorhen chicks. The first fledglings are
flying; Chough, Jackdaws and stubby tailed Song Thrushes. I also saw a
juvenile Dunnock being fed by parents and lots of young Wrens.
I scanned the sea around Peel for my first Basking Shark of 2008, but
no luck yet. However, there are plenty of other things to enjoy, with
large groups of calling Eiders, Sandwich Terns, Black Guillemots and
Kittiwake. Spent ten fun minutes watching a Grey Seal chomping away at
a Dogfish, they appear to be quite chewy, like an old shoe.
18th May 2008
The sunny weather is continuing although there is a slight breeze which
is making cetacean spotting a little difficult on the choppy seas.
Yesterday a chap on a boat from Peel saw the first Manx Basking Shark
of the season, which is great news.
Marine Drive has 30+ Fulmar nesting around the high part of the cliffs,
but no sightings of young yet. There are Shag chicks down near the
shore and I watching them calling and being fed. The Raven fledglings
are dotted along the high cliff tops, peering down on everyone walking
Langness is beautiful at the moment with Spring Squill, Birdsfoot
Trefoil and Sea Campion in flower. There were very young Shelduck and
Lapwing in the Dubh, hopefully these fluffy fledglings will be able to
survive the passing cars and predating corvidae. Offshore there were
Eider Duck, Gannet and Cormorant, plus a couple of sleepy bottling Grey
Seals. The Sound had more seals plus Common Lizard and two close and
vocal Chough. On the drive to Niarbyl I enjoyed spectacular views of
both male and female Hen Harriers. Niarbyl was stunning as usual with
its incredible vista and quiet shores.
The final stop was Peel for more Grey Seals, Black Guillemot and
Kittiwake. The path around the castle is now illuminated by Sea Pink,
and whilst walking there were egg shells near the castle wall where the
Rock Doves are nesting.
12th May 2008
It was a glorious Manx sunny day so I booked the day off work, escaped the office and headed outdoors.
Sandwich Terns were plunge diving near Peel Breakwater, which
is not’t something I’ve seen before. No luck with Wallabies at
Ballaugh but Rue Point was excellent for Little and Sandwich Terns
(great courtship behavior witnessed, with the males doing their strut
and dance moves).
Next was Ballaghennie for Common Lizard, Raven, Whitethroat, Willow
Warbler. The best were the Gannets plunge diving very close to shore.
Maughold was so peaceful that a few of us sat on a grassy bank for
twenty minutes and looked down at the nesting seabirds. Then a pair of
Chough whooshed overhead and darted around the headland… they
are always a joy. On the route home, a quick stop at Ballaglass for its
rushing river and blooming Bluebells, a relaxing and refreshing
conclusion to the day.
11th May 2008
Eventually! Lizards have taken up residence on my Lizard Log at the
Sound! They have left their trash house and moved into my classy
joint… they have taste after all. This was the highlight of my
day (it was an emotional moment for me). Also worth mentioning were the
5+ Harbour Porpoise seen from Scarlett. Elsewhere there were sightings
of Chough fledglings, 50+ Guillemot and a chorus of calling Grey Seals.
6th May 2008
During my lunch break, I got away from the office and headed to Marine
Drive. I ate my sandwiches and watched two Risso’s Dolphins swim
past. You can’t do that at Canary Wharf…
3rd May 2008
Marine Drive was entertaining again with Peregrine, Chough and a
belligerent Raven swooping around and chasing off passing gulls and
Jackdaw (I even felt intimidated). The young Ravens appear to have
fledged. At Great Meadow there was a Grey Heron in one nest, possibly a
young bird but it was looking fully-grown as it picked away at nesting
material. Next stop was The Sound, which had 20+ Seals on Kitterland
and passing Gannet. Two Common Lizards were on a piece of litter, but
the Lizard Log I had placed for them has still not attracted any
sunbathers (they obviously prefer sitting on trash).
Plenty of sea birds at Peel with Kittiwake, 30+ Fulmar, Guillemot and
Black Guillemot (showing off their natty red legs). A large Lions Mane
jellyfish was just behind the breakwater, so plankton levels are
increasing for the imminent arrival of the Basking Sharks.
27th April 2008
It was a calm and serene day, which was ideal for cetacean spotting. I
was at the Sound for 30 minutes enjoying the Grey Seals, Chough and
Gannets, before a pair of Harbour Porpoise swam up from Spanish Head.
They slowly passed Kitterland and then joined another pair off the west
of the island. Things got better at the Chasms, where fledgling Ravens
were being fed by their parent on the cliffs. Then a large flock of
acrobatic Chough bustled onto the scene, dipping and diving all around
me. All this happened whilst the Kittiwakes on Sugarloaf were screaming
and swooping. Further along the coast I saw 8 more Harbour Porpoise off
Port St Mary and Castletown. I ended the day with a Gannet diving
metres away from me at Langness, for one second I thought it was after
26th April 2008
Douglas was covered in mist and drizzle, but once we were north of
Maughold it was beautiful and clear. At Ramsey Bay there were plenty of
Oystercatchers on Mooragh Park and Razorbills offshore. There were Sand
Martins in the cliffs at the Dog Mills, and a little bunny was next to
the path as we walked back….. how cute. Numerous Gannets passed
the Point of Ayre, plus Ringed Plover on the shingle. No lizards at
Ballaghennie but the singing Willow Warblers cheered us up. At Rue
Point there was a large flock of Sandwich Terns and a couple of Grey
Seals. At Ballaugh we had a rummage through the jungle that is the
Curraghs. Had a great experience as three wild wallabies pounded
through the undergrowth around us…. we could have been in the
Australian outback… well, maybe not.
20th April 2008
Great Chough views at both Marine Drive and Fort Island. Offshore there
are regular sightings of plunge diving Gannets, plus pairs of Eider
Ducks. Brent Geese are still in Derbyhaven (should they be heading
north now?). 50+ Golden Plover are still residing at Langness, looking
splendid in their summer plumage. I disturbed a Jack Snipe at Mull
Hill, its yellow banding was clear as it darted off into the heather.
Wheatear, Chough and Raven at the Sound before Manannan’s Cloak
rolled in and ended the day abruptly.
13th April 2008
I saw my first Sandwich Terns of the year at Rue Point. There were also
Gannet, singing Skylarks and a baby Common Lizard. At the Point of Ayre
there were Stonechat in the gorse, and out to sea, passing flocks of
Guillemots. I had a brisk walk down Maughold Brooghs (followed by an
out of breath walk back up). However, it was worth it, with yet another
Raven nest spotted, a parachuting Pipit, Fulmar, Shag and Kittiwake.
Sand Martins are back at their nesting cliffs at the Dog Mills.
11th April 2008
There were Black Guillemots at Peel, joining the resident Grey Seals in
the bay. Drove back to Douglas and saw Snaefell’s peak coated
with snow. Had a long stroll along Marine Drive where I saw another
Raven nest, bickering Oystercatchers (presumably fighting over a woman)
and nesting Fulmar cackling to one another. A Peregrine zipped past, no
doubt in pursuit of its latest prey.
5th April 2008
At Tynwald we have ducklings, lovely fluffy little things. Lesser
Celandine, Primrose and Wood Anemone are now in full flower. I headed
south to see the reliable Grey Seals and Chough at the Sound, plus my
first ‘southern’ Common Lizard of the year. I then went to
the Chasms, where there was a good Peregrine sighting and a Raven nest,
but no auks yet. More ducklings at Kentraugh and then it started
snowing! Unbelievably I then saw my first Swallow (or Martin) of the
year, flying into the teeth of the blizzard. He must have been
wondering why he left Africa for this. Later in the day I saw 2 Risso's
Dolphins from Marine Drive.
31st March 2008
The birds are in full song now. Yesterday I heard my first Chiffchaff
and today at St Johns Arboretum I saw and heard Greenfinch, Great Tit,
Robin and Chaffinch. On the meadows at Langness there are displaying
Meadow Pipits and Skylarks singing from high above.
23rd March 2008
It was quite windy at Langness but I still managed to spot a Harbour
Porpoise as the sea surface was relatively calm. There were 10+ Brent
Geese on the Castletown Bay side and a raft of Wigeon off the Aero
Club. Also saw Raven, Chough, Shelduck and Grey Heron. Upon seeing the
Heron it reminded me to check out Great Meadows, so I headed off and
spotted one Heron nesting in a tree. At the Ledges there were Greater
Black Backed Gull and Eider. Grey Seals were hauled out on Kitterland,
their moans and groans echoing across the water. I escaped the windy
coast by ending at Garey Ny Chloe where I had lovely views of a
Long-tailed Tit (one of my favourite birds).
21st March 2008
I took an evening trip to Ballaugh for the Hen Harriers, arriving 15
minutes before sunset. On route there was a field with Greylags, Curlew
and Brown Hare. Whilst at the hide we saw 4 Hen Harriers, including a
very close view of a stunning male. We also had an enjoyable experience
of being surrounded by chirping Long-tailed Tits. A word of warning for
visitors, wrap up warm with at least three layers of clothing.
Otherwise you might find it gets a bit too nippy for comfort. Winter is
17th March 2008
I took a day trip north, commencing at Ballaglass Glen, which was
brightened by flowering Lesser Celandine. Many woodland birds were
singing, but March is too early for migrating Blackcap and too cold for
Grey Wagtails. At Maughold I saw Stonechat and a distant Grey Seal, but
no Chough or Peregrine today. Goldeneyes are still bobbing around
offshore Ramsey. I saw my first Common Lizard of the year, with one of
my Ballaghennie hotspots coming up trumps again. I also heard my first
singing Skylark of 2008 at Rue Point. Is Spring really here?
9th March 2008
No heronries spotted so far this year with Kirby and Great Meadows both
drawing blanks (but I could be looking at the wrong trees). Went to
Langness and saw Chough, Shelduck and Cormorants in breeding plumage. A
flock of twittering Golden Plover entertained with an overhead flight.
Derbyhaven Bay continues to be a winter home for Brent Geese, Curlew
and Wigeon. Strandall was good for Wigeon (40+) and Shelduck (10+).
2nd March 2008
At Ramsey there were good numbers of Goldeneye and a lonely Gannet.
Good sightings of Ravens all day, no doubt they will be nesting now.
Visited Maughold and was rewarded by a Peregrine Falcon perched amongst
the rocks (he was inconspicuous until he began to call). Laxey Glen
Gardens had friendly Grey Wagtail and singing Goldcrest. Ballanette
Park on my return rewarded me with an eclectic mix of wildfowl,
Mallard, Teal, Canadian Geese, Mute Swan, Shoveler and Tufted Duck. In
addition, there were Chough and a Reed Bunting.
17th February 2008
Had a brief glimpse of a Harbour Porpoise from Langness, plus the
expected Curlew, Shelduck and Chough. I took the scenic route through
Poyll Vaaish to see the Wigeon. Kallow Point was lovely and peaceful,
which was unlike the Sound, which had the irritating buzz of jet skiers
around. It was much more relaxing at Glen Maye, where the Ramsons (wild
garlic) are beginning to appear. The Raggat gave me wonderful close
views of both Goldcrest and Treecreeper. Concluded the day at Peel
where the Grey Seals were very close to the breakwater and a raft of
calling Eider Ducks were in the bay.
3rd February 2008
Took a walk in the mountains, which was a brave decision on a windy
Manx day in February. Saw Raven, Grouse and then nearly stepped
on a Mountain Hare, which bolted out of the heather in it's beautiful white winter coat.
19th January 2008
At Port Grennagh there were lots of Mallard and a solitary Shoveler. At
Derbyhaven there were Curlew, Brent Geese, Redshank and Shelduck. Then
I went up the road to Langness for Raven, Chough and 50+ Curlew (they
like to gather in this area during the winter). At the Sound there were
Fulmar at their nesting sites and 20+ Grey Seals on Kitterland. I
called in at Kionsleau on my return journey for Ruddy and Tufted Duck.
12th January 2008
I had good views from Ballaragh Road and saw a swooping Peregrine
Falcon. Ballaglass was a bit soggy, but the muddy feet didn’t
spoil the refreshing walk. The river and waterfalls were very active.
Fulmar have reappeared at Maughold, soaring on their stiffened wings
around their breeding sites. Port Lewaigue had Redshank and Curlew;
Ramsey had Turnstone and Razorbills (in winter plumage). On the return
journey I looked for Mountain Hares, but they remained elusive.
11th January 2008
Today the Isle of Man was surrounded by Bottlenose Dolphins, 100+ in total. Did I see one? Nope. Dagnamit.
6th January 2008
I did a quick lap around some southern locations, starting at Peel with
Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper. At Niarbyl there were the reliable
Chough, lots of Meadow Pipits and a Female Hen Harrier. 10+ Grey Seals
at the Sound. Then the sighting of the day happened at Derbyhaven,
whilst looking for Brent Geese I spotted 2 distant Risso’s
Dolphins. A good start to the year.