Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

 

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

 

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

 

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Journey to a seabird city

Razorbills © Mike SnelleRazorbills (c) Mike Snelle

Experience the sights and sounds (and smells) of a seabird colony!

The best seabird colonies are on the cliffs of our north and west coasts and the islands offshore.

The cliffs and rocky islands of our coastline are home to some of the most important seabird colonies in Europe. Guillemots and razorbills, gannets and puffins, kittiwakes and fulmars, shags and cormorants, all gather to cram onto the ledges, make their nests amongst the jumble of rocks or find their space on the clifftops to take advantage of our rich seas during the summer.

Our seabirds spend the winter feeding far out to sea, but as the warmth of the summer arrives they all make a beeline for the nesting cliffs. Each species has its own niche: shags nest down near the base of the cliff amongst the boulders; razorbills find a space in a crack amongst the rocks in which to lay their eggs; guillemots and kittiwakes line up in their thousands, cheek by jowl on the narrowest of ledges; fulmars find a wider space higher up the cliff, while puffins make their homes in burrows amongst the short turf on the cliff top.

With thousands of birds in one place, the air is full of whirring wings as adults go back and forth, bringing food to their sitting partner or growing chicks. All life is here: birds fight over nest sites, food and mates; chicks cry for their parents; an egg hatches; a young bird makes its first flight; and suddenly the whole colony is on the wing together, yelling in unison as a peregrine or marauding gull passes by.

How to do it


The best seabird colonies are on the cliffs of our north and west coasts and the islands offshore. Pack the binoculars and camera, and make sure you have plenty of time. Find a comfortable, sheltered spot with a good view down over the colony and then rest a while, taking it all in.
But of course, take care near the cliff top!

If you can’t get to the special places listed below…You can watch the comings and goings of the seabirds at several colonies around the country, on live Wildlife Trust webcams. Click here to watch the action, including puffins and gannets in Alderney, kittiwakes in Gateshead and gulls and terns on Brownsea Island.

Special spots


Magnificent Torridonian sandstone cliffs rise from the Atlantic on the north west coast of Handa Island, Highlands. Each summer, nearly 100,000 seabirds breed here, including internationally important numbers of guillemots, razorbills and great skuas. These dramatic cliffs provide stunning ocean panoramas.

Aberdeenshire, Longhaven Cliffs,

Antrim, Isle of Muck

Pembrokeshire, Skomer

Pembrokeshire, Skokholm

Yorkshire, Flamborough Cliffs

Gannets © Mike Snelle