Sanderlings at Ayres National Nature Reserve © John DonellySanderlings at Ayres National Nature Reserve © John Donelly

The Isle of Man boasts a wide diversity of habitats for sea and coastal birds

There are spectacular cliffs, wide sandy beaches, a unique lichen heath, coastal grasslands and some salt marsh. Beaches backed by sand dunes, maritime heath, gravel pits and freshwater ponds provide Choughs. Andree Dubbeldamcomplex bird habitats.

Catching a glimpse

The Island has some excellent seabird colonies and a thriving breeding population of the rare chough, which can be seen on almost any visit to the coast.

Visit the Sugarloaf, in the south, to see an impressive display of nesting guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes.

The beaches at the Ayres are host to pairs of Little, Arctic and Common terns, although please take note of signs and keep off the beaches during nesting time. There's even a small colony of puffins around Peel Hill, while black guillemots nest in the harbour wall.

Many waders and waterfowl such as redshank and wigeon visit the Island during their annual migrations and in the winter.

Ganner. Eleanor StoneOne of the most spectacular wildlife sites is also common around the Manx coastline in the summer, as gannets plunge dive from great height to catch unsuspecting fish.

Calf of Man Bird Observatory

The Calf, off the south of the Isle of Man, is a small islet that shelters a vast array of wildlife. Ideally situated, it has been a Bird Observatory since 1959 with around 33 species of birds breeding here annually, with many other species passing though on migration, such as the Eastern Bonelli's warbler and other rare species. It's also home to many seabird species including Manx shearwater, razorbill, cormorant, shag, gulls, guillemot and eider, which are attracted to the steep cliffs and sheltered bays. 

It is managed by two wardens, an estate warden and an ornithological warden, on behalf of Manx National Heritage. The wardens are managed by Manx Wildlife Trust. 

Boat trips can be taken to the Calf from Port Erin or Port St Mary either for the day for for longer.