Known for its abundant natural wildlife, Guernsey is the perfect place to discover hidden reserves, puffin colonies and hundreds of different Channel Islands’ birds. Embrace your wild side and ignite a newfound interest in bird watching, or simply take the opportunity to capture some impressive wildlife snaps around Guernsey’s scenic shores. The ideal island retreat, The Old Government House Hotel and The Duke of Richmond Hotel offer a luxurious location from which nature lovers can easily explore nearby Alderney, Herm and Sark, known collectively as the Bailiwick of Guernsey (a hub for migrating birds and spotting rare species), before returning for a sumptuous spa treatment.
Whether you’re a bird lover or not, the sight of a cute yellowy orange beaked puffin or a lithe gannet is bound to have you cooing or reaching for the camera. Luckily, the Channel Islands are awash with thriving colonies and flocks of migrating birds
For the chance to see over 260 different Channel Islands bird species Alderney should be your first port of call. The rugged island terrain sees avid bird watching locals and scores of curious tourists flock here throughout the year. Uninhabited Burbou Island is a gateway for observing the Atlantic Puffins and home to 11 other breeding seabird species. As a designated bird sanctuary the most practical way of getting up close to all the wildlife is by boat.
So why not make a full day of it and take a boat trip around all of Alderney’s major wildlife hubs? Impressive gannet colonies, which tot up to the thousands, litter the Les Etacs and Ortac Isles and the nearby Burhou Reef is home to the local Atlantic seal colony too. Or back on dry land, wander through Water Lane, the isle’s oldest woodland, to observe the Thrush and Linnets that sing from the scrubs. Better yet make a beeline for the coast and head for Platte Saline, a firm favourite among nature lovers and fisherman, overlooked by Fort Doyle. But be warned, the sea is far too rough for a quick swim.
Back in Guernsey, there are some great spots that don’t require much travelling but guarantee the opportunity to view some rare birds. See if you can spot the illusive Dartford Warbler, which risked extinction in the 80s, or the petite Storm Petrel, from the Pleinmont Observation Tower in Torteval. Or whisk yourself off to the Silibe Nature reserve and catch a glimpse of the Stonechats or Short-toed Treecreeper. The Rue des Bergers is a petite reserve tucked away in the Grande Mare area of Guernsey. The wet overgrown meadow is a magnet for an array of wildlife and ideal for long quiet walks in the dying days of summer. Expect to come across Reed Warblers and Snipe, both of which are regular visitors to the area.
For action packed days of bold exploration and evenings of pure tranquillity, Guernsey offers all the elements of the ideal summer retreat. Header image: Stonechat © UrosPoteko/iStock/Thinkstock