Wildlife & Birdwatching Holiday on the Isle of Wight

Autumn Birds & Wildlife of Wight

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

Tuesday 20 to Friday 23 September 2022

Join your Natural Links leader, Dave Fairlamb, for a natural break packed with the best of autumn wildlife for all nature lovers, as we visit some of the top nature reserves and wildlife sites on the Isle of Wight.

After several previous successful Birdwatching/Wildlife Holidays, The Garlic Farm and Natural Links have again joined forces to offer guests an Autumn Wildlife break that combines accommodation in either our luxury yurts or cosy cottages, nestled in beautiful countryside at the foot of the chalkland downs, with expert-led excursions to local nature reserves and wildlife hot spots on the island.

"A holiday for all nature lovers"

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 in their thousands. The recent reintroduction of White-tailed Eagles has also added an extra dimension to birdwatching on the Island.

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, with over 3,000 individuals, around 2% of the whole UK population and other mammals often seen include Fox, Badger, Stoat, Weasel and Brown Hare. Surrounded by the waters of the Channel and the Solent, there is always a chance of cetaceans on our coastal trips, particularly Bottlenose and Common Dolphins.

Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies are still on the wing in late September, especially if the weather remains warm and the sun shines. Expect to see Red Admirals, Speckled Woods, Gatekeepers, Comma and Peacock butterflies as well as Common Darter dragonflies and Blue-tailed Damselflies. Day-flying moths may be still be active such as Cinnabar and Burnet moths and there may be influxes of Hummingbird Hawk-moths.

Programme

Tuesday 20 September

Guests arrive at Garlic Farm Accommodation from 2pm onwards.

Afternoon: Join your leader, Dave Fairlamb, from 4-6pm, for a stroll and relaxed nature walk 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 21 September

Morning: Breakfast at 9am followed by Site Visit 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. The sheltered paths by the lagoons are hot spots for butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.

Picnic Lunch

Afternoon: Site visits to Culver Cliff and Bembridge Down

A wildlife walk around 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. The downland habitat holds many species of wildflowers which attract butterflies and day-flying moths.

Thursday 22 September

Morning: Breakfast at 9am followed by Site Visit to St. Catherine's Point

The most southerly point on the island can be a true migration hotspot in the right weather conditions with seabirds passing offshore and warblers, flycatchers, pipits and chats feeding in the scrub before heading off south over the Channel. This is also one of the best sites to catch a glimpse of any cetaceans out to sea, particularly dolphins.

Picnic Lunch

Afternoon: Site Visits to the Western Downs and the Western Yar estuary

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, Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail and can attract a wide range of finches.

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, especially Wigeon, Teal, Golden & Grey Plovers.

Friday 23 September

Morning into early Afternoon: Breakfast at 9am followed by Site Visit to Newchurch Moors HIWWT Reserve, including Packed Lunch

The Autumn Birds & Wildlife of Wight concludes in the mixed habitats of Newchurch Moors, with its wetland, mature woodlands and meadows. Birds include Jay, woodpeckers, roving tit flocks and occasional Kingfishers. The eastern River Yar is one of the best sites for Water Voles on the island and the woodlands hold Red Squirrels. The wet woodlands and sheltered rides offer ideal conditions for butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. Finish at approx. 2pm.


The tariff for `Autumn Birds & Wildlife of Wight 2022':

£460 per person when sharing a luxury yurt between two people. From £475 per person when sharing a cottage between two people.

£375 per person for a luxury yurt shared by close friends or family of 3. From £400 per person when sharing a cottage between three people.

£335 per person for a luxury yurt shared by close friends or family of 4.From £360 per person when sharing a cottage between four people.

Please enquire for prices for solo travellers or larger groups.

The price includes VAT, and covers:

  • Return car ferry travel with Wightlink or Red Funnel
  • 3 nights' accommodation in our luxury yurts
  • Breakfast served in the restaurant each morning.
  • All guided birdwatching excursions.
  • Packed Lunches on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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 or £150 per cottage.

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

Read Dave's latest blog post that beautifully describes the Isle of Wight's nature and wildlife through the seasons.

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