ST MARY’S ISLE
Enjoy lovely views over Manxman’s Bay and the River Dee
ST MARY’S ISLE is more of a peninsula than an island, but does have a small island at its southern tip called Insh. The peninsula was once the location of a priory founded in the 12th Century and connected to Holyrood in Edinburgh. It is easy to walk around thanks to a track which takes you most of the way around it. This is also helpful as it covers the edge of the peninsula, giving you views over Manxman’s Bay and the River Dee. The peninsula itself has mixed woodland, along with scrub allowing you to enjoy spring arrivals as well as autumn waders. Winter can see feeding waders as well as occasional movements of geese. The area was made famous for having one of the earliest breeding Spoonbills in Britain, back in 2008. Three young were raised in a tidal reedbed along the River Dee, with birds often feeding near the isle. In recent years, Little Egrets are often seen, 12 months of the year and even Great White Egret can be found, at times. A record of Night Heron proves it’s worth looking for the unexpected. Waders are often the main birds to look for as the mud is exposed, with regular wintering Greenshank, Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Dunlin and Snipe. Jack Snipe was a great find for a coastal marsh, while Little Stint is more likely in autumn. Shelduck are common, while pale-bellied Brent Geese occasionally grace the area. Birds of prey include Peregrine, Buzzard, Red Kite and Sparrowhawk, while Merlin is possible in winter. Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler are possible in spring, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker all year.