|Colin says: Walney Island Bird Sanctuary is a dream for conservationists and bird-watchers alike. It houses Europe's largest community of breeding herring and black-backed gulls and Britain's largest eider duck breeding population. There are many hides scattered around the reserve but visitors can also stroll around the paths and surrounding beaches at will. |
The nature reserve is open from 10am-5pm in summer and 10am-4pm in winter.
The most Southerly point of Walney Island was granted by King Stephen to the abbot of Furness Abbey. It was established as a nature reserve in 1963, and the 130 hectacres concerned are notable for it's diverse range of habitats including mudflats, saltmarsh, sandunes, shingle beaches, brackish pools, and freshwater marsh. It is best known for its huge colony of breeding gulls with over 30,000 pairs of lesser black-backed and herring gulls.
Walney lighthouse is located on the southern tip of the nature reserve - and was the last manned lighthouse in Britain when it's automation was finally announced in 2003.
Colin says: An eider duck breeding colony is also well established in Walney's Southern reserve. Kestrels, barn owls, tufted duck, swans, and grebes also regularly delight visitors there. Other breeding species can include common tern, little tern, oystercatcher, ringed plover, shelduck, mallard and moorhen. Regularly wintering species of birds make up the raminder of the 60,000 strong population, and include; knot, dunlin, sanderling, turnstone, golden plover, grey plover, redshank, curlew bartailed godwit, widgeon, teal, goldeneye, common scooter, red-breasted merganser, red-throated diver, and cormorant.