Birdwatching Holiday on the Isle of Wight

Wild-Isle Bird Migration Special

with The Garlic Farm & Natural Links

9- 11 October 2020

Join your weekend leader, Dave Fairlamb, of Natural Links. for a birdwatching break packed with the best of autumn bird migration as we visit some of the top nature reserves and birdwatching sites on the Isle of Wight.

The wide range of habitats on this stunning Island and the surrounding shores and seas off the south coast of England provide fantastic birdwatching with a wonderful array of species; Wildfowl, Waders, Birds of Prey, Seabirds, Herons and Egrets, Larks, Finches and Buntings and many other migratory species. The island is also a very special place for red squirrels and dragonflies and butterflies can still be on the wing in early October.

After a very successful Autumn Birdwatching Holiday in 2019, The Garlic Farm and Natural Links have again joined forces to offer guests a Bird Migration Special weekend break that combines accommodation in one of our luxury yurts nestled in beautiful countryside at the foot of the chalkland downs, with expert-led excursions to local nature reserves and birdwatching hot spots on the Wild-Isle.

The location of the Isle of Wight on the south coast of England, makes it a perfect place to see bird migration in action. Many species pass over the island on migration south towards the Mediterranean and on to Africa. Swallows and Martins amass over the southern downs before heading over the Channel and it is an excellent time of year to see birds such as Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warbler, Ring Ouzel and Black Redstart, as well as many other warblers and chats. Birds are also arriving from northern climes, particularly wildfowl and waders, with dark-bellied Brent Geese flying in from Siberia in their thousands.

The month of October can always turn up a few surprises, and in recent years, scarcer island visitors have included White-fronted Geese, Hen Harrier, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Little Stint, Pectoral Sandpiper, Sabine's Gull, Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Rosy Starling, Dusky Warbler, Tawny Pipit

In the wonderful world of birdwatching always expect the unexpected!

Proposed Weekend Programme

Friday 9 October

Guests arrive at Garlic Farm Accommodation from 2pm onwards.

Afternoon: Join your leader, Dave Fairlamb, from 4-6pm, for an optional stroll and relaxed birdwatching around the mixed woodlands and farmland of our base for the weekend, Mersley Farm. The farm woodlands are also one of the best places on the island to see Red Squirrels.

Evening: Dinner at 7pm to include free drink and Illustrated Talk

Bird Migration on the Wild-Isle

Saturday 10 October

Pre-Breakfast: Optional birdwatching walk around Mersley Farm and Horringford pond

Morning: Breakfast followed by Site visits to Culver Cliff and Bembridge Down

A birdwatching walk along the coastal path to Culver Cliff, looking out across the Bay for seabirds and looking for Skylark, pipits and finches along the way. Peregrine and Raven patrol the cliffs and the hedgerows and fields around Bembridge Down are good places to see Green Woodpecker and Stonechat The headland is one of the main hotspots for migrants which can include large numbers of hirundines, warblers, thrushes and chats.

Picnic Lunch

Afternoon: Site visits to Brading Marshes RSPB Reserve and Bembridge Harbour

Brading Marshes has been an RSPB Reserve since 2001 and the reedbeds now host Bittern, Marsh Harrier and Water Rail as well as a growing number of Egrets. The marsh lies adjacent to Bembridge Harbour, one of the main sites for Mediterranean Gulls in autumn and there is a constant exchange of wildfowl and waders between the sites dependant on tides. Cetti's Warblers sing virtually all year round in the reedbeds and the pools often hold Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper and Greenshank.

Evening: Dinner at 7pm to include free drink and Bird Migration Quiz

Sunday 11 October

Pre-Breakfast: Optional birdwatching walk around Mersley Farm and Knighton West Wood

Morning: Breakfast followed by Site visits to the western Downs

The mixed habitat of the western Downs includes spectacular chalk cliffs, scrub and woodland, providing varied birdwatching opportunities during migration time. It is an especially good site for Redstart, Whinchat, Stonechat and Wheatear and can attract a wide range of finches.

Picnic Lunch and Site visit to Newtown NNR

Designated for important bird assemblages, Newtown, with expansive mudflats and saltmarsh, is the only National Nature Reserve on the Island. Overwintering wildfowl and waders are arriving in good numbers from northern climes by early October, especially dark-bellied Brent Geese, Wigeon, Pintail, Golden & Grey Plovers, Knot and Dunlin. Spoonbill and Great White Egret are other specialities of the Reserve.

The tariff for `Bird Migration Special':

£325 per person when sharing a luxury yurt between two people.

£275 per person for a luxury yurt shared by close friends or family of 3.

£250 per person for a luxury yurt shared by close friends or family of 4.

Please enquire for prices for solo travellers or larger groups.

The price includes VAT, and covers:

  • Return car ferry travel to the Isle of Wight from Southampton, Portsmouth or Lymington
  • 2 night's accommodation with our renowned Garlic Farm breakfast served in the restaurant each morning.
  • Packed Lunches x 2 and all birdwatching excursions over the weekend.
  • Dinner with Free Drink on Friday & Saturday evenings.
  • Optional guided pre-breakfast birdwatching walks on Saturday & Sunday mornings.
  • Illustrated talk on Friday evening and Quiz on Saturday evening.

We courteously ask guests to car-share for travel around Island birdwatching sites

Please contact us soon to book your place by emailing or by telephone 01983 898477

Further information at