Islay birdwatching

Islay is a fabulous place if you want to do a spot of birdwatching. With many species to see you are spoilt when it comes to Islay birds! Find out more by reading on below…

 

To book, look at the 'Availability Page' here on our website and check your chosen accommodation is free. You can then check our tariffs here to see what each property costs in the relevant year to when you want to book. Then fill in the online booking form on this page or contact us here by email. Or you can book by telephone on 07880 706356 or 01496 850382.

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Islay birds and birdwatching

A holiday on islay would not be complete without a spot of birdwatching! With a magnificent array of birds – around 100 species, in a variety of habitats you can explore open moorland and hills to rugged cliff faces, woodland, mud flats and beaches. So, let’s delve into the detail of what you can expect to see here, be you a beginner or a pro!

Corncrakes, choughs and much more

In winter, we are home to vast flocks of geese from Greenland and Russia, who arrive in October and leave in April. This signals the arrival of many other migrant visitors to join the local population. Mass migration happens in spring. This brings with it many winged visitors from afar, ready to settle down on this scenic isle for the summer!

Some of the love songs you may hear across the breeze come from the Corncrakes, Lapwings, Larks and Choughs. All are rare species to the UK, but a welcome inhabitants of Islay. If you are lucky, you may see a flock of Chough with their charcoal black bodies and striking bright red beaks and legs! The Corncrake can be heard in several spots in summer and Choughs, rare in most of Britain, abound near Kilchoman, Ardnave and in the Oa. The Ringed Plover Bird is another common guest. A wading bird it is short and dumpy with small legs and can be found in coastal areas and beaches.

Look out for magnificent birds of prey, including Golden Eagles and White Tailed Sea Eagles gliding around this island and seeking out their prey. The excitement and anticipation of this event is something you will never forget, as they stalk their dinner amongst a small flock of birds and make the kill. Not for the faint-hearted! Marsh and Hen Harriers and Sparrow Hawks are other species that can be seen too. Kilchoman is also home to a pair of Peregrines. We weren’t lying when we said our island is a birdwatcher’s paradise!

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There are many places you can see the island birdlife and some not so far away

The RSPB runs reserves at Loch Gruinart Reserve and at The Oa. The visitor centre at the bottom of Loch Gruinart is full of information and interesting facts. It provides many habitats where you can view an array of species including the famous geese on tidal flats and open farm and moorland. Close by are hides overlooking the flats and guided bird walks where locals will share their knowledge. For more information, contact RSPB on 01496 850505.

Inland areas are ideal places to observe a variety of birds, such as Bridgend and Ballygrant. You can meander public paths through the old Victorian woodlands. Here, you may see Finches, Tits, Treecreepers and our nighttime friend, the Tawny Owl. Other places to look are Ardnave, particularly for Choughs. Corncrakes can also be heard here.  Lochindaal is host to a myriad of wading birds, particularly near Bridgend in winter where there are large flocks of geese. Kilchoman and Loch Gorm have a wide variety. And the crags behind Kilchoman House (here at Islay Cottages) are home to several species. The West Coast hosts many habitats for Islay’s seabird colonies, where the Gulliemot and Razorbill strut their stuff, as the sea crashes beneath them. This is also where Islay speciality, the Chough is found in abundance.

Islay Birds is an excellent site for discovering lots of information about the birds on Islay. All posts are produced locally at Kilchoman.

Get in touch today to find out more

If a birdwatching holiday in Scotland is something you want to do, do it in one of the best places . Come and enjoy a wildlife holiday here on Islay with our Islay birds. And if you are looking for somewhere to stay our cosy accommodation has fabulous views. Perfect for a spot of birdwatching. Here explore our feathered friends from the comfort of our quaint cottages or the spleandor of our grand Kilchoman House. Call us today on 07880 706 356 or email us here. Come and see what it is all about! You are sure to be ‘choughed’!

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