Self-catering cottages and holiday accommodation for bird watchers in the Highlands and Islands of north west Scotland
The west coast of Scotland and the Highlands have always been popular places with tourists and bird watchers. The hill walkers come to bag Munros (the high hills) and sightseers to explore the lovely coastal towns and villages and picturesque lochs. The shrieking cry of gulls is always present on the coast; the cliffs and outlying rocks providing safe ledges for thousands of birds to nest. Find a place to stay in country cottages in the Highlands for a self catering break with bird watching.
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You cannot fail but spot birds everywhere you visit in north west Scotland but the main nature reserves are as follows:
Balranald in North Uist - the Western Isles. Large numbers of waterfowl breed in this sand, lagoon and marsh nature reserve. You may see dunlin, redshanks, ringed plovers, terns, oystercatchers, snipe, gadwall, shoveler, red-breasted mergansers, tufted duck,. shelduck and eider. Most visitors come to view corncrakes although they can also be found on the isles of Mull, Lewis, Harris, Barra, Vatersay, Canna, Coll, Iona, Colonsay and Islay. Whooper swans are winter visitors and barnacle geese, pomarine and long-tailed skuas may be spotted during spring migration.
The Island of Rhum (owned by Scottish Heritage) - a fair-sized mountainous Hebridean island just south of Skye. Unlike many Scottish islands it does have some trees. Day trippers can visit the island by ferry from Mallaig and Arisaig but be warned, if whales or dolphins are spotted then the trip may include a time to watch them. A large group of Manx shearwaters of about 100,000 nest high up on the mountain. You may also see golden eagles, golden plovers, corncrakes, merlins, peregrines and twites.
Loch Druidibeg on South Uist in the Western Isles is home and breeding ground to a remnant of wild British greylag geese. Also find nesting golden and ringed plover, and dunlin. Sanderling over winter here.
Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve is a 7 peaked ridge Highland reserve at the southern tip of Loch Maree with mainly rocky moorland and pine forest. Buzzards, sparrowhawks, golden eagles, ptarmigans and long-eared owls breed here. You should also see redstarts, wood warblers, siskins, ring ouzels, dippers and red polls.
Handa - an RSPB island reserve just off the coast, just over 40 miles north of Ullapool, and can be reached by boat from Tarbet during the summer months. The stately cliffs of over 120m in height are a safe breeding haven for guillemots, kittiwakes, and at lower levels, puffins and razorbills. You may also see Arctic and great skuas, twites and red-throated divers.
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