Bird Watching (Continued)

Looking out the front window over the loch, you can be rewarded with the sight of a little grebe or green shanks or the secretive snipes probing the mud along the banks, while the mute swans tend their nest on the far side. From the kitchen window at the back of the property at dusk, you can often spy a barn owl soundlessly scanning the park.  Even closer still the shrubbery in the garden attracts a host of small birds including the beautiful linnet. Across the fields, at the back of the cottage, is the Gearraidh, an area of a myriad  lochs, heaths and bog land.  

Colonies of terns and common gulls prefer this isolated inland location to the coast and will make it very clear you are far from welcome if you stray near their colonies! The Gearraidh is also home to a host of waterfowl and waders but in essence it is similar to an upland heath so it is also home to the meadow pippet, the wheatear, the hooded crow and the stonechat. 

The well- known RSPB Reserve, half a mile along the road from An t-Seann Dachaidh, is a must. Inside the centre you can see a catalogue of recent sightings but more importantly you are now on the machair where you can enjoy a sighting of many birds first hand; lapwings, the raucous oystercatchers, dunlins, redshanks, curlews and a host of gulls including the giant great black backed gull and the occasional glaucous gull.

Alternatively, if you follow the horseshoe of the bay, you’ll be unlucky not to see a melee of turnstones, plovers and occasional sanderlings running back and fore at the very edge of the tide.  

Last year visitors to the centre were surprised and delighted to get out of their cars in the car park and see that a male hen harrier, with his distinctive grey plumage and white flash at the rear, had decided to leave his more heathery haunts to scour the dunes at the edge of the bay/. On this occasion he was so close there was little need of binoculars!