Guided Cruises

Reports/summaries of the cruises can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/mikelangmanart

With over 40 years’ experience as a birdwatcher Mike’s knowledge of birds around Torbay is unparalleled. He leads walks for Naturetrek, Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust & Sharpham Trust (usually during the spring and summer).

The walks & cruises vary from general natural history walks to walks concentrating on particular bird groups, species or other wildlife; most cater for birdwatchers of any ability. Places are always limited – booking is essential.

NEW  Gift Vouchers: for walks or private tours. Choose a walk or cruise or a voucher amount of your choice.

For more information or to book places go the events pages and scroll through the months at:

You can also book onto Mike’s own cruises – places are strictly limited,  booking is essential:

Full day Wildlife Cruise – Coastal, Dart Estuary & Lyme Bay

Sunday 18th August    (FULL)

 Time: 9am – approx. 4.30 – 5pm                
£102  – places very limited to 7 people, booking essential

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

A great opportunity to join a unique wildlife charter cruise along the spectacular south Devon coastline and then up into the Dart Estuary with expert guidance from Mike with Dave on Kelly’s Hero .

Wildlife highlights we hope to encounter along the way may include:  Grey Seal, Harbour Seal, Harbour Porpoise, Common Dolphin, Manx Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Fulmar, Terns, Mediterranean Gulls, perhaps a skua, Yellow-legged Gulls, Kittiwakes, Guillemot, Razorbill, Peregrine Falcon, Raven, Wading birds, Kingfisher, Shelducks, Herons and Egrets on the August trip there’s a chance of an early returning Osprey too.

The cruise will start from the ferry pontoon at Brixham  at 9am prompt – meet at 08.45am by the toilets on the quay side near to the Rockfish take away.

We will cruise slowly along the beautiful coast via Berry Head, Man Sands, Scabbacombe Head and Froward Point watching for wildlife all the way. Low tide is late morning perfect timing for seals as we pass the Mew Stones rocks off Froward Point. On arrival at Dartmouth at about 11.30am we’ll take a 1/2 hour break to give you time for a comfort stop or to grab a pasty or fish and chips in town if you wish. We’ll eat our lunch as we cruise up river.

Next we will cruise up the Dart Estuary on the rising tide,  past the Royal Naval College, Agatha Christie’s Greenway House, Dittisham and Stoke Gabriel scanning the river and the mud flats for wildlife. Returning to Dartmouth we’ll take another brief stop if required.

On the return cruise to Brixham, if conditions are good, we’ll venture out into Lyme Bay coming back through deeper water hoping to find some dolphins and more unusual seabirds. The days itinerary might change depending on sea conditions, so the Lyme bay excursion may be swapped to the morning.

Docking back at Brixham at around 4.30 -5pm

What to bring: Warm clothing – it can be cold at sea even in the summer, hat (that won’t blow off!), sun cream, drinks, snacks, lunch (or be prepared to buy something at Dartmouth), payment for loos at Dartmouth, binoculars, camera. If you suffer from travel sickness you might consider sea sickness tablets before you start the cruise.

There is FREE parking up along North Furzham Road, around Battery Gardens (approx 12 minute walk) or pay car parking much closer at Oxen Cove (approx 7 minute walk) cost approx £12 for day. Please arrive at 08.45- 08.50 am ready for a prompt departure

Meeting place: outside toilets at Brixham Quay Follow link for map: Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

 

Seabird and cetaceans – Pelagic Boat Trips (From Brixham) 

Friday 26th July  4 hr   –  evening cruise 4pm – 8pm  (FULL)

Friday 16th August  6 hr –    afternoon/evening cruise  2pm – 8pm (FULL)

Tuesday 20th August  6 hr –    afternoon/evening cruise  2pm – 8pm (FULL)

Thursday 5th  September   4hr – morning cruise    8.30am – 12.30pm (FULL)

Thursday 26th September  4hr – morning cruise    9am – 1pm  (3 places Left)

           
Prices  –   4 hour trips –  £57              6 hour trip – £ 74

places limited to 7 people, booking essential

 

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

The mixing of the currents off Berry Head and deeper water just out into Lyme Bay attracts good numbers of feeding seabirds, many just a little too far out for most people to appreciate detailed identification features even with the best telescope.

This year I’m running some afternoon/evening cruises and a longer 6hour hour cruise.

Join Mike and skipper Dave on Kelly’s Hero special seabird charter to search for and concentrate on some of the more interesting birds – hopefully including Manx Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Fulmar , Gulls and perhaps Terns, Skuas even Storm Petrel, there’s also the good chance of seeing Porpoises and Dolphins. Each of the summer and autumn months has it’s own particular pelagic species to look for.

Last years trips included the best and greatest variety and rarity of wildlife seen. It appears changes in our oceans means that the numbers of the globally threatened Balearic Shearwater are increasing together with sightings of the ‘large’  shearwaters Great and Cory’s. During one of my guided trips last year Devon’s very first Scopoli’s Shearwater was seen and photographed. Later in the autumn we will search for Tuna too last year getting in amongst these impressive predators. And there is always the outside chance of seeing the sought after White-beaked Dolphin as we din on one cruise last year.

Mike will guide you through the identification of the various wildlife encounters with insight into the behaviour of these creatures. This is a great opportunity for photographers to get closer to seabirds they could never hope to easily photograph from the shore. The weather will play a huge part in what’s likely to be seen on the day, a slight breeze means shearwaters are much more likely to be moving around. However even on calm days there will be birds and wildlife to see – in fact the cetaceans are easier to spot and see when the sea is calm and shearwaters often loaf around in groups or even large flocks..

If the sea is too choppy the trip will be cancelled – but we will aim to try again as soon as possible – so if you are available a day or two before or later even better…

What to bring: a good pair of binoculars, clothing to suit the weather – remember it can get surprisingly cold for a number of hours at sea.  Although Dave always makes a cup of tea or coffee for us and Mike provides the biscuits  – bring a hot drink and a snack, sea sickness tablets for those that think they might need them (usually taken 2hrs before setting out on the boat) .

Meeting point: The charter boat pontoon Brixham Harbour 15 minutes prior to the given departure time : Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

Dart Cruise – seals and cetaceans special

Summary of cruise on 10th August 2023 Click Here

Monday 15th July    Time 5pm – 9pm (2 places left)

Tuesday 13th August    Time: 5pm – 9pm (6 places left)

 

 Departing Kingswear   –   aboard African Queen

                
£40 adults (under 18’s £30) – places limited to 11 people, booking essential

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

The Dart estuary and coastal waters just beyond are perhaps the best place in the SW for seeing both species of seal. At sea in July and August there’s a very good chance of spotting two species of Cetacean too.

On these evenings cruises we’ll head both out to sea and up the river in search for seals, cetaceans and of course any birds along the way. The Dart estuary is of course a a very pleasant and scenic area to take a boat trip. Being on our own private charter aboard ‘African Queen’ with skipper Alan we can adjust the itinerary accordingly and make the very most of our time out.

With luck, as has been the case during the last three years, we might find Harbour (Common) seals with pups. Common Seals pup during the summer unlike Grey Seals. 2023 was only the 5th year breeding had been recorded in the SW for this species. As the small population of Harbour Seals increase on the Dart our chances of seeing this again gets better every year.

Low tide for both cruises is during the evening, searching the islands off shore we should find some Grey seals and heading further out to sea we hope to find Common Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise, as well as seabirds. During the summer months diving Gannets, that have perhaps travelled over from France, are always popular but perhaps also we’ll find shearwaters and Guillemots or even a rare Yellow-legged Gull.

During the evening we’ll also explore the Dart Estuary, the best place to find the Harbour Seals but also looking out for estuary birds which could include Waders, kingfisher and during the August cruise perhaps Osprey – but this is not an ‘Osprey’  special so we won’t venture to far up river.   

The cruise will be cancelled (full refunds given) if the weather is bad.

What to bring: clothing to suit the weather – it can be cool on the boat even in summer. Bring a hot drink and a snack.

There is a small car park by the passenger ferry pontoon –  but Darthaven marina car park is bigger and about 10mins walk away a 5 hour ticket is recommended. There may be some free parking above Kingswear (the resident parking spaces beside the road only apply until 3pm so if you find a space use it!) with a 15min walk to the ferry pontoon. Please bear in mind these options when you arrive and the timings for the walks.

Meeting point: Kingswear passenger ferry car park  at 4.50pm ready for a  PROMPT  5pm departure on African Queen. We will finish back at the car park at about  9pm Map: Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

 

Osprey Search/Watch – Dart cruise 4 hours

SUMMARY OF PREVIOUS CRUISES CLICK Here:

Friday 30th August  0830hrs depart  (FULL)

Tuesday 3rd September 12noon depart (FULL)

Thursday 5th September  1400hrs depart  Additional cruise (FULL)

Friday 6th September  1400hrs depart  Additional cruise (FULL )

Friday 27th September  0830hrs depart  (FULL )

 Departing Kingswear   –   aboard African Queen 

I do keep a reserve list if anyone would like to be on it in case of last minute drop outs (which does happen fairly regularly) – let me know if you wish to be on the reserve list.

          

£40 adults (under 18’s £30) – places limited to 11 people, booking essential

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

48 years ago, hearing that the inspirational wildlife author and presenter Tony Soper had seen an Osprey on the Dart Estuary during one of his wildlife cruises (when Ospreys were still very rare in Britain), Mike and a small group of YOC (Young Ornithologists Club) members cycled out to Stoke Gabriel.  After a long wait, on the rising tide, their dreams came true as an Osprey flew down the estuary ready to hunt Mullet in the shallow water.  Mike revives Tony Soper’s cruises during September on a similar rising tide hoping to see an Osprey. The chances of seeing Osprey are today much improved as Osprey numbers continue to increase in the UK – BUT STILL NOT GUARANTEED! However, over the last 2 years my Dart cruises have encountered and photographed Ospreys on EVERY TRIP with 2 and sometimes 3 Ospreys present!

These  cruises offer a great opportunity to search the notoriously tricky estuary to watch successfully from land (as much of the surrounding land is privately owned), and hopefully spend some time with this amazing bird. We have enjoyed watching Ospreys making multiple dives giving photographers the chance to take some action shots.

On these cruises (assuming sea conditions allow) we’ll first head both out to sea around the Mew Stone Rocks to search for birds and Grey Seals before moving up river on the rising tide. A low but rising tide is probably the best time to look for Osprey as they can easily catch Mullet swimming up over the shallow, flooded mudflats. Off course we’ll be looking for Kingfishers, Egrets, Waders and wildfowl along the way. during 2023 we were lucky enough to see the impressive Goshawk on 3 out of 4 ‘Osprey’ cruises! Hopefully we will find some Harbour Seals, the Dart Estuary is the very best place in the SW to see this species of seal. The estuary makes for a very pleasant and scenic boat trip too. Being on our own private charter aboard ‘African Queen’ with skipper Alan we can follow any Ospreys up and down the river the itinerary can be adjusted accordingly and make the very most of our time out on the water.

My Osprey article in the May/June 2024 edition of ‘On The Dart’ magazine . Here’s the digital link to the article from page 36.

 The cruise will be cancelled if the weather is bad.

What to bring: Binoculars, camera if you have one, clothing to suit the weather – it can be cool on the boat even in September. Bring a hot drink and a snack.

There is a small car park by the passenger ferry pontoon –  but Darthaven marina car park is bigger and about 10mins walk away a 5 hour ticket is recommended. There may be some free parking above Kingswear with a 15min walk to the ferry pontoon. Please bear in mind these options when you arrive and the timings for the walks.

Meeting point: Kingswear passenger ferry car park  10mins before the departure time for a  PROMPT   departure on African Queen. We will finish back at the car park 4 hours later Map: Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

 

Seabird& cetacean pelagic – Kingswear  4hrs

Wednesday 9th October      Time: 12noon – 4pm (1 place left)

Departing Kingswear   –   aboard African Queen

               
£42 adults  – places limited to 10 people, booking essential

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

Start and Lyme bay can be an exciting area for seabirds and cetaceans and by mid October probably Atlantic Bluefin Tuna too. During 2022 & 2023 there were also plenty of Great and a few Cory’s Shearwaters still in Lyme Bay well into November.

On this mornings cruise we’ll head out into Start Bay looking for feeding groups of seabird and cetaceans. We will keep a close eye on feeding flocks of birds in Start and Lyme Bay and get in amongst any flocks we find.  European Storm Petrels, Skuas and Shearwaters together with Fulmars are all possibilities on this cruise. Being on our own private charter aboard ‘African Queen’ with skipper Alan we can adjust the itinerary accordingly and make the very most of our time out.

Target species for this trip will be: Balearic Shearwater, Manx Shearwater perhaps Great & Sooty Shearwater, European Storm Petrel, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua, together with Fulmar, commoner Gulls including Gannet, Kittiwake, Mediterranean and newly arrived Common Gulls, maybe a late tern or two and there’s always the possibility of something much rarer last years cruise included a 1st winter Caspian Gull. Of course we will keep our eyes peeled for cetaceans like Dolphins and Porpoises and there’s a very good chance of seeing Atlantic Bluefin Tuna too in mid October. 

On the way back to Kingswear the tide will be perfect for hauled out Grey seals and perhaps Common Seal and we will search a couple of the secluded beaches in the estuary mouth for any Grey Seal pups. 

The cruise will be cancelled (full refunds given) if the weather is bad. But we will try and re-organise the cruise near to the date if enough people can still make it. For this reason I’ll keep a reserve list going to be able to fill the places in case of a change of date.

What to bring: clothing to suit the weather – it can be cold on the boat so layers, hat and gloves are recommended. Bring hot drinks and a snack too. don’t forget your binoculars (telescopes not recommended on boat trips) and a camera if you have one.

There is a small car park by the passenger ferry pontoon –  but Darthaven marina car park is bigger and about 10mins walk away a 5 hour ticket is recommended. There may be some free parking above Kingswear with a 15min walk to the ferry pontoon. Please bear in mind these options when you arrive and the timings for the walks.

Meeting point: Kingswear passenger ferry car park  at 11.50am  ready for a  PROMPT  12noon departure on African Queen. We will finish back at the car park at about  – 4pm Map: Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.