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Birds and Bird Watching on the Isle of Skye

Probably more has been written about the island of Skye than any other island in Scotland. Surprisingly however, little had been written about the island's bird life until 'Skye Birds' was published recently, and there is a growing recognition that whether you are a casual birdwatcher, or a fanatical twitcher, the island may hold a few surprises.

Of course with the unique mountain landscape of the Cuillin, the Trotternish Ridge, and 570 kilometres of dramatic coastline it is not surprising that Golden Eagles and White-tailed Eagles are high on most visitors 'wish list'. With 30 pairs of Golden Eagles and an increasing number of breeding White-tails, opportunities to see these magnificent icons of the bird world, are available at virtually any point on the island, and those with a watchful eye on the sky will be rewarded.

Trotternish Ridge, Skye
Trotternish Ridge © Jonathan Maddock

But it is not just Eagles, and over 240 species have been recorded and some 14 of these, red listed as of high conservation concern, breed on the island. Birds such as Red-throated Diver, Corncrake, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Greenshank, Twite and Rock Dove can be found on the moor and croft lands.

From the many coastal headlands the seasonal movement of thousands of gulls, auks, petrels, and shearwaters is a wonderful spectacle of visible migration. Puffin are most often sighted from sea, and in burrows at Waternish Point and the Ascrib Islands. Skye sits at a migratory crossroads for many species from Iceland, Greenland and beyond which means there is always something to look for. In particular, Autumn can be an exciting time with Brent Geese and Whooper Swans passing through.

Be it a pastime, a hobby or an obsession, Skye has something to offer birdwatchers of all skill levels, but above all, you can enjoy it in peace and tranquillity, in the most spectacular scenery in the country.

For more information:

Tourism information - visit the Isle of Skye and Lochalsh Tourism website

Birding information - visit Skye Birds