Birding

dipper on a rock

Dipper in the Kilmarie river

Birding is really popular on Skye as there is all year interest of its resident species and good migration species in both spring and autumn as well its summer visitors.

What you can do

  • Skye has a rich variety of habitats and a species list of over 240  birds – how many can you get?
  • The Island is home to a good variety of predator species such as eagles which do very well on the Island.
  • The marine environment is also very good for birds with cliff nesting birds present in a number of locations.
  • Sit back in the activity room, keep the feeders topped up (we provide the food) and see what turns up.

Where to do it

  • The garden is home to a number of resident birds and the species list is boosted in breeding season by migrants.
  • There are maps in the activity room with all the good sites marked.
  • The sea can be very good by viewing from any of the local boat trips, especially the Puffin runs to the Small Isles in the breeding season.

What we provide

  • Tripod mounted telescope with x30 eyepiece
  • Several pairs of binoculars including a small sized pair especially for young children.
  • Set of bird songs and calls CDs covering 396 species of Britain and Europe.
  • ID Guides and books

Advice about the activity

  • The infamous distinction between bird watchers who sit still and wait to see what turns up (“arsers”) and those who take off on foot to cover as much ground as possible (“leggers”) has particular relevance on Skye.
  • The ground can be rough and hard going and the distances off-putting which often makes a good vantage point the best option.
  • Yet, if you want to see some of the upland specialists such as Ring Ouzel or Golden Plover then “legging” is the only way.
  • Early morning is better for songbirds which may be more readily heard than seen.

Things to consider

  • Many people coming to Skye want to see Golden Eagles and White-tailed Eagles, both of which breed successfully on the Island.  We can suggest suitable habitat where these birds may be found but it must be emphasised that disturbing their breeding sites is illegal and only general guidance on where they might be seen can be given.
  • Boat trips from Portree specialise in White-tailed Eagle spotting.
  • Skyebirds.com is the main information source for keen birders and email records of sightings will be welcomed by the co-ordinator.
Birds Fulmar

Fulmars nesting at Strathaird Point