Sunday, 1 July 2012
Isle of Man Birds and Orchids
On principally, a family holiday on the Isle of Man from the 23rd to 30th June, the island lies in the middle of the Irish sea, north west off the English coast. The island is 33 miles long and 12 miles wide, with a wide variety of habitats and stunning scenery sometimes reminiscent of Scottish landscapes in its area of 227 square miles. On Sunday 24th June, a visit to the picturesque Peel Harbour and Castle revealed up to 5 superb Black Guillemots or Tysties (to give them their Scottish name) in the harbour 2 close in by a fishing boats they then flew then incredibly one flew in and settled in an alcove by the harbour wall. A walk around the castle revealed a female and young Eider on the sea. meanwhile back in the harbour a female Eider showed well on some rocks. meanwhile in a channel by some boats a Tystie flew in with a caught pink Eel type fish and swam left and then incredibly flew onto a boat and showed exceptionally well on the deck. My thanks to the boat owners to drawing my attention to the bird and allowing me to take pics! On Monday 25th June, I visited the Close Sartfield Manx Wildlife Trust reserve, just by the car park was a field covered in thousands of Orchids, 1000's of Spotted orchids and 1000's of Heath Spotted Orchids and around 100+ of the Northern Marsh Orchids. A wonderful sight! A path ran parallel to the car park and all 3 varieties could be seen. A walk around revealed 3 fields and another area right of the boardwalk absolutely covered with Orchids. From the hide at the end of the boardwalk, a distant Hen Harrier was seen flying left over a distant peak of moorland and woods. From the top of the hide up to 11 Redpoll seen, trilling as they flew over, 1 perched on top a distant tree, one perched on a tree next to the hide but looking against the light. 8 Siskin flew over, 8 Curlew flew by. Birds hear included Blackcap, Reed Bunting and finally by the car park, 2 Speckled Woods seen. A trip on rib, kindly organised by my cousin Martin to Maughould (pronounced Maccie) Head looking out on dramatic rocky coast (similar to Farnes) revealed a total of 28 Black Guillemots, a total of 18 Puffin out to sea, 3 seen near the boat swimming on the water. 24 Grey Seal seen including 3 together and one rising vertically out of the water curious to see who we were! c300 razorbills flying past the boat and perched in lines on the cliffs, c200 of the chocolate brown plumaged Guillemots also flying past the boat and perched on the ledges of the cliffs. Further up on the grassy knolls, 14 pairs of Fulmar counted and several flew or glided on stiff wings over the boat. Over 100 Cormorants seen and 400 Shag, many on ledges near the water line and many fishing on the sea. 140 Kittiwake seen many nesting over a cave entance and their distinctive calls heard here too. 18 Oystercatchers on the land, 36 Gannets flew by (including 3 immatures and 1 sub-adult), 1 adult Gannet was also perched on a small rocky outcrop. A group of 5 sub- adult male Eiders seen on the return trip and a Harbour Porpoise seen by Martin only. To be continued. On Thursday Manx Shearwater seen on Friday at a trip to Snaefell Stonechat & Raven seen. Later on at Sugar Loaf by the bund, amazing to see 10 calling Chough wheeling around over my head by the top sea cliff, Razorbills and Guillemots seen too. At Agnes Head several Arctic Terns seen on the beach with Gannets and Kittiwakes streaming past. On sat 30th June a trip round Snaefell revealed a fantastic male Hen Harrier flying past the car, no area to stop though as it was near the summit on a bend on a single track road.