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Seasonal highlights

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.


Thousands of migrating birds. Skuas and divers out at sea. Huge flocks of turnstones, purple sandpipers, dunlins and sanderlings along the shoreline. Greenland barnacle geese, dotterels, ringed plovers, skylarks and oystercatchers on the machair. Redshanks, lapwings and snipe on the marshy grassland.

Barnacle goose - adultCorncrakeRed-throated diver - breeding plumageSkylark
Barnacle gooseCorncrakeRed-throated diverSkylark


Listen for the corn buntings' song, which sounds like jangling keys. Arctic and little terns fish along the tide edge. Redshanks and lapwing chicks in the marshy grasslands. Orchids, poppies and silverweed on the machair. The rare great yellow bumblebee on the carpet of wildflowers.

Arctic ternCorn buntingCorncrakeLittle tern - adult in breeding plumage
Arctic ternCorn buntingCorncrakeLittle tern


Tiny pink cowrie shells and spiral tower shells on the beach. Otters in the freshwater lochs and along the rocky shore. Large flocks of lapwings and golden plovers over the wetlands. Hen harriers and peregrines circle overhead. Flocks of Hebridean greylag geese on the lochs or machair.

Golden plover - in breeding plumageGreylag gooseHen harrier - maleLapwing
Golden ploverGreylag gooseHen harrierLapwing


Flocks of starlings feeding on the fields and high-tide line. Whooper swans, wigeons and teals make the Uists their winter home. Merlins attracted by mixed flocks of skylarks, twites and snow buntings. The occasional golden eagle in search of a careless rabbit. Even the rare, reintroduced white-tailed eagle is becoming a regular visitor.

Snow bunting - first-winter femaleStarling - adultWhite-tailed eagle - adult in flight Whooper swan - adult
Snow buntingStarlingWhite-tailed eagleWhooper swan

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 57.60567,-7.51750
  • Grid reference: NF706707
  • Nearest town: Lochmaddy, Western Isles
  • County: Eilean Siar
  • Country: Scotland

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