Last Friday, the 25th of July, Manx BirdLife (MBL) joined the Rotary Club of Onchan on their ‘Mystery Road Trip’ organized by Stuart Clague, Rotary club member and also part of the MBL advisory committee.
Unbeknown to the Rotarians and their wives and friends who had joined them, the mystery tour destination was the Ayres Gravel Pits to visit the future grounds of the nature reserve site. Dora Querido, Chief Operating Officer of Manx BirdLife, and Stephen Smyth, General Manager of Island Aggregates, who are partners in the agreement to create the reserve, joined the group for the tour.
Once on site, the group listened to a talk from Dora and Stephen about the future plans for the site, an overview of Manx BirdLife and its work as well as discussing how the site is an excellent demonstration of how economic activities can co-exist and benefit wildlife with the right management.
Mystery Tour group at the Ayres gravel pit
A tour of the site, led by Sean Gray, one of the licensed bird ringers on the Isle of Man who possesses unrivalled knowledge of the gravel pit’s ecology, revealed the system of lagoons which will form the heart of the reserve, and everyone was enthralled at the sight of a Cormorant nest.
Setting off from Douglas in the evening, the journey took in some of the best upland and forested landscapes the Isle of Man has to offer before reaching the far north of the island. The excellent weather and lack of strong winds, quite often a presence in the north of the island, meant the site visit was especially enjoyable.
The tour ended with an excellent meal at the Methodist Church Hall in Bride, served by outside caterers.
Manx BirdLife would like to thank the Isle of Man rotary club for the invite, as well as Stephen Smyth, Island Aggregates and Sean Gray