Bird watching on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a great place to watch birds - some of the best sites are on National Trust land.

Over 200 species are recorded on the Island each year. Quite a few rarities visit us due to our proximity to mainland Europe and migration routes.
There's a wide range of habitats: muddy creeks, ancient woodlands, open downs – and of course nowhere on the Island is far from the sea.

Where to go to spot birds?

East Bird hide at Newtown National Nature Reserve, Isle of Wight

This is one of the best places for bird spotting. There are three public hides and our volunteers are often on hand to identify the birds at the Mercia Seabroke Hide close to the harbour. Ospreys are frequent migrating visitors.

Image of a lapwing

St Helens Duver is a good place to bird watch over Bembridge Harbour, where you may see flocks of geese, duck and waders in the winter. It's also adjacent to the RSPB Brading Marshes reserve where in the spring you may spot lapwings swooping high above.

Peregrine Falcon

The cliffs, fields and high downs at Tennyson Down, and at the Island’s most southerly point near Knowles Farm, are excellent sites for bird watching. Peregrine falcons and ravens patrol the coast. Many migrant terns and ducks pass at sea and the scrub attracts migrant warblers and chats.

A Dartford warbler perches on a gorse bush

Stand atop the highest point on the Island and you may hear, or even spot, a Dartford warbler on the acid heathland of Luccombe Down. Or head to Headon Warren at the far west of the Isle of Wight where they may be hidden amongst the gorse.

Hard to see a resting nightjar, because it is so well camouflaged

You can usually hear nightjars churring on balmy June evenings on Mottistone Common. And you'll almost certainly see buzzards flying high over the downs and woods.

Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding young at nest hole

In the depths of the ancient woodland at Borthwood Copse, look out for woodpeckers and goldcrests hiding amongst the oaks and beech trees.