Our islands offer amazing opportunities for wildlife watching. Why not take
a few tips from the Hands on Nature team as we get close to wildlife with three
activities that you can participate in at home.
watching - compulsive fun!|
These are three different activities
that you can try out for yourselves throughout the year in island locations:
watching on Skomer Island
trip to Skomer would be complete without a visit to see the island's birds. For
many visitors, Puffin and Manx Shearwater watching can be highlights of any bird
Top birding tips
* The best place to see the
Puffins is at the Wick where you can get within a few feet of them by following
* Puffin season runs from May to August.
* The Manx
Shearwater is characterised by its beautiful black plumage and webbed feet.
To see the amazing ornithological spectacle of Manx Shearwater, book in advance
and stay overnight at the island's chalets.
* The Manx Shearwater are best
seen at night when they put on a fantastic audio show - they can be identified
by their distinctive calls. The male makes a high pitched noise resembling Mr
Punch whilst the female sounds more gruff.
spotting on the Farnes
Seal spotting is a great way of getting close to
island wildlife at the Farnes.
Hands on Nature tells you how to spot
the difference between Grey Seals and Common Seals.
Atlantic Grey Seals are bigger than a Common Seal - they are characterised by
their Roman noses.
* Grey Seals are inquisitive creatures. Take an underwater
camera to get good close up shots, but don't forget to attach the camera to your
* Whilst cumbersome on land, Grey Seals are athletes when in the
water. The seals can swim up to 100 kilometres a day.
* Grey Seals can hold
their breath for an hour and a half underwater, and can dive to depths of almost
* Take a boat from Seahouses - most visitors land at Inner
Farne. The journey takes 30 minutes and a visit lasts about two hours.
watching on the Farne Islands
spotting is great fun on the Farnes with a huge variety of different birds to
look out for.
The Farne Islands are the Heathrow Airport of the wildlife
world with birds landing and taking off every few minutes, creating one of nature's
Amongst the many birds are Puffins, Razorbills, Guillemots
and Arctic Terns.
tips: Arctic Terns
* Arctic Terns have uniformly blood red bills and short
* Sandwich Terns have black legs and black bills with a yellow
* Arctic Terns live for 30 years and cover 650,000 miles of flying
distances in their lives.
* The terns can be found on the grassy areas in
the middle of the island.
Underwater nature off the Isles of Scilly
of the most rewarding experiences at the Isles of Scilly is watching nature underwater.
Go under the sea to get a spectacular nature watcher's view of the rich
marine life and mammals which live in the islands' waters.
Use a cheap underwater camera to capture photographs.
* Carry an underwater
sketch pad/note book.
* Wear the correct equipment - a mask and snorkelling
kit. Don't forget to spin on your mask and then rinse it before diving - this
will prevent it from steaming up. Don't breathe through your snorkel if it is
full of water.
* Watch out for seals coming up behind you - they are very
* Don't touch the seals as they are sensitive and you
may frighten them. Let the seals come to you.
* Book in advance. Most seal
trips run from St Mary's Island.