Birdwatching Holiday on the Isle of Wight

Wild-Isle Bird Migration Special

with The Garlic Farm & Natural Links on the Isle of Wight

Tuesday 12 to Friday 15 October 2021

Join your Natural Links leader, Dave Fairlamb, 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 mid-October.

After previous successful Autumn Birdwatching Holidays, The Garlic Farm and Natural Links have again joined forces to offer guests a Bird Migration Special 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 recent reintroduction of White-tailed Eagles has also added an extra dimension to birdwatching on the Island.

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, Hoopoe, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Rosy Starling, Dusky & Warbler and Tawny Pipit

In the wonderful world of birdwatching always expect the unexpected!

Weekend Programme

Tuesday 12 October

Guests arrive at Garlic Farm Accommodation from 2pm onwards.

Afternoon: Join your leader, Dave Fairlamb, from 4-6pm, for a 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.

Wednesday 13 October

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.

Thursday 14 October

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

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 the Western Yar estuary

The estuary has many habitats, including open water, mudflats, saltmarsh, reedbed, scrub and woodland, so holds a rich variety of bird species. Overwintering wildfowl and waders are arriving in good numbers from northern climes by mid-October, especially dark-bellied Brent Geese, Wigeon, Teal, Golden & Grey Plovers, Turnstone and Dunlin.

Friday 15 October

Morning: Breakfast followed by Site visit to Seaview and Ryde Coast

Hersey Nature Reserve at Seaview is often a good site for Kingfisher, Little Grebe and Mediterranean Gull and the coast of Ryde holds sandy beach specialists such as Sanderling and Ringed Plover, along with Curlew, Oystercatcher and large flocks of Brent Geese.

Picnic Lunch and early afternoon visit to the River Medina

The Migration Special concludes on the banks of the River Medina, with waders, geese, gulls and grebes and the fields and scrub attract Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Skylark as well Wheatear and Whinchat on their migration southwards. Finish at 3pm.

The tariff for `Bird Migration Special':

£460 per person when sharing a luxury yurt between two people.

£375 per person for a luxury yurt shared by close friends or family of 3.

£335 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
  • - 3 nights' accommodation with our renowned Garlic Farm breakfast served in the restaurant each morning.
  • - All guided birdwatching excursions.
  • - Packed Lunches on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • - Optional evening social at the Pointers Inn, Newchurch on one of the evenings.

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

Option to arrive on Monday and take 4 nights for an additional £100 per yurt.

Please contact us soon to book your place by emailing accommodation@thegarlicfarm.co.uk or by telephone 01983 898477

Further information at www.natural-links.co.uk