Life in a Wildlife Wagon
Travelling around in his "Wildlife Wagon" Steve Wright can spot a Wallaby at 100 metres and identify bird song instantaneously. There’s not much he doesn’t know about wildlife on the Isle of Man.
Have you ever stopped to listen to a field mouse squeak? Have you ever run across a field to enjoy the bird song of a Goldcrest? No? Steve has.
“It’s all about listening and seeing. Many of us go about our daily lives without experiencing the things which are happening around us. I once watched a group of basking sharks off the south coast of the Island and most of the people around me were oblivious to the drama going on right under their nose.”
As any photographer will testify, you can never be sure what you will see when you set off on a wildlife adventure but if you take someone with you who knows the terrain, your chances of an exciting sighting are increased. And Steve Wright certainly knows the Isle of Man. An office worker by day and a wildlife enthusiast at the weekends, he has been organising guided tours for 5 years.
A baby wallaby
“One of my favourite places to take people is the Ballaugh Curraghs. I have seen as many as 3 wild wallabies at any one time in that area. It’s wonderful to see them pounding through the undergrowth. You could almost be in the Australian Outback…well maybe not.”
“I look for brown shadows. It gets easier the more you look but the animals are well hidden by the trees so you have to know where to look and what to look for. That is unless a wallaby decides to find you.
“I took some people up to the Curraghs last year and one member of our group was straggling behind. He heard the thud, thud, thud of an approaching Wallaby and was quite shocked to see a one charging straight at him. The man stood there and called, "Hello!" stopping the Manx Marsupial in its tracks. The conversation ended shortly afterwards when the Wallaby hopped back into the undergrowth.
“At dusk one evening last year I came across three wild wallabies feeding. I quietly positioned myself in the scrub and watched them for a few minutes before they were spooked by something and bounded off.
The Ballaugh Curraghs
“One of them 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.
“In the west Peel is a good place to park up and have lunch. Once when I was sitting at Fenella Bay with my fish and chips I looked up and saw a Basking Shark on the horizon. After a quick walk to a better viewpoint I could see there were five individual sharks. During the summer the Isle of Man is one of the best places in the world to see Basking Sharks.
“I also love the Island regulars like the seals. They are really entertaining: groaning, calling out and generally lazing around like fluffy boulders. Nothing chills out like a seal!
A Common Lizard
“One of my finest moments was seeing 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.
"Another great wildlife moment on the Isle of Man was watching Rissos Dolphins leaping from the water close to shore at Langness. They were playing and foraging for an hour and I was the only person there to enjoy them.
"I am at my happiest relaxing with good friends and enjoying a pint of real ale. If I could do this whilst watching dolphins.... that would be ideal!"
last updated: 23/04/2009 at 10:39
Have Your Say
Share your Manx wildlife experiences here