The Islands of Guernsey are home to a huge variety of wildlife - we are fortunate that there is a diverse range of habitats that make our Islands suitable for a wide mix of birds, sea life and plants.
The Islands are a paradise for keen bird watchers, with over 200 species of bird recorded each year, some of which stay and others that stop to rest for just a day. Spring and autumn are particularly great for bird spotting, with the most sightings being recorded between February - May and September - January, but you are sure to see a wide range of species no matter the time of year you visit.
Whether you have been a keen birder for years or are just starting out, this guide should help you with all you need to know about birdwatching on the Islands of Guernsey.
How to Get Started with Birdwatching
If you’re new to bird watching, or you’ve never tried it somewhere new, the Islands of Guernsey are a great place to start. The sheer number of species we see, paired with the natural habitats that our Islands provide, make it easy to begin looking for new birds. Grab your binoculars and set out to one of our many sights, just be sure you don’t disturb the birds that have made these sights their home.
If you want advice from local experts, or perhaps someone to join, visit the RSPB Local Group website or Facebook page, where keen local birders post pictures of birds they’ve spotted and advice for others.
Guernsey Bird Watching is another local Facebook page where locals and visitors discuss their experiences with birdwatching on our Islands, post photos and organise meetings of like-minded individuals to go and spot birds together.
The Alderney Bird Observatory, the only Bird Observatory in the Channel Islands, often holds meetings and events for people interested in birdwatching. Even if there isn’t a specific event, you’re likely to meet a whole host of people on a visit here with similar interests.
The Alderney Wildlife Trust have a latest bird sightings board outside their Office in Victoria Street, St Anne and you can also view the Puffin and Gannet Webcams inside. They offer guided bird walks, and there is always a specialist available to talk to and binoculars to borrow!
Many people like to go bird watching on their own, using it as a time to be alone with their thoughts and at peace in nature. If you want a more organised trip or tour, for yourself or a group of you, our Islands have a few offerings.
Tours of Guernsey offer bespoke walking tours tailored to your requirements and their expert guides will happily take you to some of the best spots for spotting birds.
Outdoor Guernsey has a ‘Puffin Patrol’ tour, a two-hour kayak tour around Herm, starting at Shell Beach, for groups who want to get up close to the puffins off the coast of Herm and the other marine birds that are around.
For a more exhilarating experience, Island Rib Voyages offer a guided wildlife tour that will again take you towards the puffins that nest just off of Herm, letting you get close to them and the other sea birds.
Sark Boat Trips offer voyages around Sark that will let you visit caves, bird watch and much more. The boat is licensed for a maximum of 12 people and pre-booking is advised. Departures are from Creux Harbour in Sark.
Alderney Wildlife Trust offer Seabird Boat trips with a specialist guide to view the Gannets on Les Etac and Puffins of Burhou, as well as other seabirds. The boat is licensed for a maximum of 12 people and pre-booking is advised. Departures are scheduled on a Wednesday and Saturday. The Trust also offer bespoke guided bird walking tours tailored to your requirements.
Also in Alderney, Avante offer an island tour on their 12 person boat taking in the Puffins on Burhou and the Gannets on Les Etacs. They also offer a 1-hour, evening trip to Burhou to see the puffins. Booking is advised.
Where can you go Birdwatching on the Islands of Guernsey?
Birds can be seen in all areas of our Islands. From the Rocks off of Herm and the Beaches of Guernsey to woodlands, wetlands and different valleys scattered across the Islands of Guernsey. With so many places to look for birds, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here is a list of just a few of the most popular local birdwatching sites to get you started.
- Alderney Bird Observatory
- Barras Lane
- Camp du Roi
- Colin Best Nature Reserve
- Fauxquets Valley
- Guernsey Airport
- Jaonnet Bay
- La Claire Mare
- La Donneuse
- Le Gouffre
- Le Grande Pre
- Le Guet
- Les Etacs, Alderney
- Les Banques
- Les Martins
- Lihou Island - Guernsey’s first RAMSAR site with more than 150 species of birds waiting to be spotted
- Longis Bird Hide, Alderney
- Mannez Bird Hide, Alderney
- Quanteraine Valley
- Saints Valley
- Saumarez Park
- Silbe Valley/Reserve
- St Martin's
- St Sampson
- St Saviour's Reservoir
- Talbot Valley
- Vale Pond
- Vingtaine de l'Epine
For even more information about our RAMSAR sites and nature reserves, read this blog.
What Birds are Found on the Islands of Guernsey?
There are over 200 species of bird spotted annually across our Islands, some are found here all year round, whilst others stop by during the spring and autumn migrations. Here are just a few of the species of birds you can expect to find while you're here.
- Blackbird: Blackbirds are incredibly common and are one of the most widespread resident species in the Islands of Guernsey, a familiar sight in gardens, woods, parks and farmland.
- Blue Tit: A common resident to all of our Islands, blue tits are found in most gardens and often stay here all year round. Coal tits, great tits and long-tailed tits also visit us regularly and are seen in all sorts of habitats across our Islands.
- Chaffinch: Chaffinch are very common in the winter and can often be found congregating in large flocks in weedy fields and other seed-rich areas. Also commonly spotted are bullfinch, greenfinch and goldfinch.
- Ducks: Mallards are residents in many of our parks, ponds and wetlands. On a visit to Saumarez Park, you will see hundreds of them in the ‘Duck Pond’ on the main field. Venture into the Japanese-style pavilion to get a closer look. We also get shelduck, wigeon and tufted duck visiting, but these are not so commonly spotted.
- Gannets: The gannet colonies of Les Etacs and Ortac, situated just 100m from Alderney’s coastline, account for 2% of the world’s gannet population – a truly spectacular sight which can be seen during a boat or walking tour. The rocks are home to nearly 6,000 pairs of Gannets from February - September every year. Visit the Giffoine to get a look at these majestic birds. A telescope and a bench are on the site to enable visitors to take their time and have a closer look at the colony.
- Gulls: Our Island beaches are incredibly popular with a wide range of species of gull, especially in the summer when there are families having beach picnics. The most common types we see are the lesser black-backed gull, black-headed gull, herring gull and great black-backed gull, but we also receive visits from the common gull, Iceland gull, little gull, yellow-legged gull, sabine’s gull and Mediterranean gull.
- House Sparrow: House sparrows are common in all the islands of the Bailiwick, found in gardens, parks, farmyards and other seed-rich environments.
- Magpie: Magpies are regularly spotted residents in all of the Islands of Guernsey except Alderney. They are seen in most habitats, although they’re most common in agricultural areas and along the south coast cliffs.
- Puffin: Between mid-March and July, a vast number of puffins flock to our Islands to breed, instantly recognisable by their black and white feathers, stocky build and brightly coloured beaks and they are often seen on the rocks off the coast of Herm and Alderney. To get a closer look, take a trip around the coasts of Herm and Jethou with Island Rib Voyages or join Outdoor Guernsey on a kayak puffin-watching trip from Shell Beach on Herm.
- Robin: The robin is a resident bird of our Islands and can be found in most habitats, particularly gardens, wooded valleys, coastal scrub and hedges around agricultural land.
- Rock Pipit: Rock pipit can be spotted on all of our Islands all year round and they breed on many of the smaller islets, including Les Burons and L'Etac de Serq in Sark, several of the larger Humps off Herm and the low-lying sandy areas and the cliffs of Guernsey.
- Short-toed Treecreeper: A resident in all of our Islands, short-toed treecreepers regularly breed in woods, parks and large gardens; most areas with large trees. In Guernsey, the majority of sightings come from the Fauxquet, Talbot and Quanteraine valleys, the south coast woods and Saumarez Park.
- Song Thrush: The song thrush is a common species, occurring throughout the Islands of Guernsey in gardens, woods, agricultural land and in coastal areas. In Autumn, from September to November, migrant birds pass through the islands, a few wintering here. Very few pass through in Spring.
- Wren: Wrens are one of the most common and widespread birds on all of our Islands. They occur in most habitats but are most commonly spotted in coastal and inland scrub.
Special Offers and Packages for Birdwatching on our Islands
For keen birders, we have a range of offers and organised trips that are centred around, or have an element of, birdwatching. For a stress-free trip that is organised for you, look no further than our exciting range of holiday packages.
Soar with the Birds at Camp de Reves Glampsite - 3rd - 5th May
- Join local bird expert, Rod Ferbrache, on a three-day birdwatching course at Camps de Reves Glampsite. The course is perfect for birders of all levels of experience and ability and will include a ‘tea and talk’ about the birds, walks and a visit to Lihou Island. Each glamping unit has a pair of binoculars, a bird identification book and there is even a checklist of all of the species of birds (over 50) that have been identified at the site so far. Make sure you book soon as spaces are limited.
Alderney Wildlife Break - 1st April - 30th September
- You will receive a 20% discount voucher to use with the Alderney Wildlife Trust which can be used to book a boat trip to spot seabirds, seals and other nature along the coast, a bat and hedgehog walk to see the blonde hedgehogs that are native to Alderney, a kayaking trip or one of the many guided walks on offer. You'll stay at The Georgian House or The Victoria. Breakfast is included.
Sark in Style - 15th - 20th May
- A tranquil and relaxing 6-day holiday filled with wildlife walks on Sark. As this trip is in the midst of the Spring migration, you will have the chance to see a wide range of birds, including puffins, guillemot, razorbill, hoopoe, raptors, skua, sheerwater and more alongside other wildlife like dolphins and rare butterflies during your daily walking and boat tours. There will be a five-course meal each evening. Flights and accommodation are included.
Go Slow in Alderney - 4th June - 9th September
- An 8-day holiday filled with wildlife walks on Alderney. Knowledgeable local guides will lead twice-daily activities, including an introduction to bird-ringing at the new Alderney Bird Observatory, a seabird and marine life cruise and a variety of birdwatching walks. Flights, accommodation and breakfast are included.
Guernsey, Herm and Sark Adventure - 24th May- 2nd June and 18th - 27th July
- A 10-day holiday exploring the nature and wildlife available on these Islands. You’ll have the chance to see species of birds rarely, or not at all, found on the British Isles mainland, like the short-toed treecreeper. As well as tours, there will be bird-ringing demonstrations and you will visit some of our most special habitats, such as the RAMSAR sites of L’Eree Shingle Bank, Goulliot Headland and Lihou Island. Flights or ferry, accommodation and a 3-course meal each evening included.
Guernsey in Spring - 20th - 24th May
- A five-day holiday on Guernsey that is timed perfectly with the peak of the Spring bird migration. You’ll get the chance to watch thousands of birds visit our Islands and go on tours with local experts. There will also be bird-ringing demonstrations and a visit to two of our RAMSAR sites, L’Eree Shingle Bank and Lihou Island. Flights or ferry and accommodation at the 4* Fermain Valley Hotel with a three-course meal every evening included.
Herm: The Enchanting Channel Isle - 26th - 30th June
- Visit the small, peaceful Island of Herm and enjoy leisurely walks, boat excursions and bird-ringing demonstrations. You will get to see colonies of guillemots, razorbills and puffins and a possible swallowtail. You will be staying on Guernsey, with the daily ferry to Herm included as well as breakfast and dinner each day.
Alderney in Style - 16th - 20th May
- Five days of wildlife walks on Alderney. There will be the chance to see peregrine, buzzard, raven, Dartford warbler and more as well as a visit to the gannet colonies on Les Etacs & Ortac by boat (weather permitting) and bird-ringing. Flights, accommodation and breakfast included.
To view even more of our special offers, click here.
To learn all about the wildlife found on the Islands of Guernsey, read this blog.
Read this blog if you want suggestions for even more of the best sights to spot wildlife on our Islands.