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17 September 2014
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Nature's Calendar

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Rocky Island activities

Birders' paradise


Rocky islands offer great opportunities for wildlife watching especially sea birds. Their craggy rocks provide a dramatic backdrop for some spectacular birds. The seas also provide great opportunities for spotting sharks and other marine life.

Enjoy a summer spectacle - sea birds around our rocky coasts

For a spectacular nature experience, why not try your hand at bird watching or shark spotting around the rocky coasts of the British Isles in summer?

Here's are Nature's Calendar's top tips on making the most of your visit to some of the most popular birding and marine life spots around our coasts.

Top locations

Guillemots c/o Turus MaraGreat rocky coastlines where you can watch the sea birds featured on Nature's Calendar Summer series include:

* Bass Rock - about a hundred thousand birds live cheek by jowl, occupying every single available space on its craggy cliffs.

Look out for gorgeous Gannets with their stunning white plumage, the smaller Razorbills and Guillemots, and the darkly coloured Shags.

There are great views to be had even if you can't get onto Bass Rock itself. Visit the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick Harbour, where they have cameras beaming back close-ups of the gannets.

* Skokholm

* Staffa and Treshnish

Fulmar c/o Turus MaraOther coastal locations for sea bird spotting featured in the Nature's Calendar series include three of the best bird watching spots in the British Isles.

During late spring and early summer there's the awesome sight
of hundreds of sea birds flying in to roost.

* Bempton, Yorkshire
* Rathlin, Northern Ireland
* Gower Peninsula, Wales

Elsewhere in the British Isles, we can also recommended the following island habitats:

* Farne Islands, Northumberland
* Lundy Island

* Shetland - Fair Isle, Scotland
* Anglesey, South Stack, Wales

Birding tips

GuillemotFor an even better bird watching experience, here's a few tips:

* When listening to birds, cup your hands around your hears to amplify the sound.

* The usual rules apply - stay quiet, still and be patient.

* A good pair of binoculars will help you get a better view - and scopes can really capture an 'up close' view of sea birds settled on rocky crags

* Don't forget to take a bird identification book so you can distinguish between species such as Guillemots and Razorbills.

* Binoculars and scopes will help spot sea birds in the distance.

* Don't forget your camera, particularly if it has a good zoom.

* A cheap disposable camera can also come in useful for getting close-ups of the water's surface.

Become a Shark reporter

Basking Shark c/o HWDT/Rob Pickering)Basking Sharks are summer visitors to the shores of the British Isles especially the west coast of Scotland.

Why not get involved with the Basking Shark 'Sighting Scheme' off the west coast of Scotland?

The Basking Shark Project wants to hear about reported sightings of Basking Sharks (and Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises) off the coast throughout the year.

This information is important to improving our understanding of marine wildlife.

The sightings can be from land or sea - you can take part if you have a good view of the sea from your house or holiday home or if you walk regularly along the coast.

Simply fill in the online sighting form when you spot a Basking Shark or other marine species!

Report your Basking Shark sightings

Alternatively you call the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust with a sighting - 0800 0858 110.

Photo credits

Basking Shark copyright and courtesy of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust/Rob Pickering.

Fulmar and Guillemots photos courtesy and copyright of Turus Mara.



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Activities (Image: Shelduck c/o Wildlife and Wetlandd Trust)

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