Nature of the Bay
It’s no secret that Morecambe Bay is host to some absolutely stunning sights, from the majestic Cumbrian mountain ranges, to the serene sunsets the bay is famous for, but sometimes its incredible wildlife can be illusive, unless you know where to look!
Morecambe Bay encompasses a vast and diverse area; including salt marshes and mud flats, and Areas of Natural Beauty, and because of this it draws in over a quarter of a million birds every year! They are especially attracted to the mud flats of the bay, which are home to smorgasbord of treats such as cockles, mussels and shrimp, which Morecambe Bay is famous for (there’s a reason our football club are known as ‘the shrimps’, one even features on the club’s badge).
Of the 250,000+ birds that visit the bay each year, you can see some common sights, from regular Gulls, and Starlings, to the rarer Marsh Harriers, Arctic Terns, Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers. Head on over to our Birds of the Bay page to learn more about all the fantastic bird life you can encounter here.
The north-west part of Morecambe Bay is home to the intriguing island of Walney. Effectively a continuation of Barrow-in-Furness, this island is home to the South Walney Nature Reserve and one of Morecambe Bay’s most impressive residents, the fantastic Grey Seal!
This colony, the only Grey Seal colony in Cumbria, can be seen all year round by either visiting the nature reserve in person (highly recommended) or by tuning in to their live ‘Seal Cam’. The Seal colony is also surprisingly large, with over 500 seals being recorded in early 2021, mainly due to the nature reserve being a protected area with very little human disturbances thanks to the closed beaches. This protected area also attracts many other rare animals, such as migratory curlew, spotted redshank, redstart, and pink-footed geese. Barn owls, short-eared owls and peregrine falcons can also be seen if you’re lucky!
If heights and hiking are more your thing, then the panoramic views from atop Warton Crag might be more to your liking. This stunning limestone hill, including a disused quarry and rock-climbing areas, is a fantastic walk for serious hikers and families alike. With much of the hill listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and its peak being the highest point in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is considered one of the best examples of limestone grassland in Lancashire. This attracts a fantastic array of wildlife, with a rich variety of butterflies, including the rare pearl bordered fritillary and high brown fritillary, Grass Snakes, Adders and the illusive Slowworm occasionally being spotted basking on rocks in the sunshine.
It will come as no surprise that the many rivers and woodland around Morecambe Bay are also home to a spectacular array of wildlife. From the wild Cumbrian rivers to the bustling Lancaster Canal, plenty of wildlife can be spotted alongside the water, such as Kingfishers, Otters and Red Deer, which are especially magnificent during their rutting season in the Autumn. Red Deer are also commonly spotted at the fantastic Leighton Moss Nature Reserve, which lies close to the coastal towns of Silverdale and Arnside, which can be seen alongside one the richest collections of bird-life in the country. The reserve is a must-see for any animal-loving visitor to Morecambe Bay.