The Oa on Islay is a breathtaking reserve of dramatic sea cliffs, open moorland, freshwater lochs, coastal grassland and heath. It's home to many important breeding and wintering birds.
The stunning coastal cliffs tower 100m over the often turbulent sea below and rise, at their highest point, to Beinn Mhòr at 202m. Within the folds of cliff face are hidden bays, where tumbling waterfalls terminate the burns and streams that run from the freshwater lochs and peatland bogs inland.
Golden Eagles grace the skies around the Oa throughout the year, making the reserve one of the best locations for visitors to Islay to glimpse this majestic soaring raptor. From February into early spring, Golden Eagles are active with territorial display flights, courtship and mating. Later in the year you may see them catching updrafts and soaring over their home range, perched patiently on rocky knolls along the hill line, or stooping for prey such as geese or hares.
Our specially planted arable fields have attracted nationally significant numbers of wintering Twite to the reserve. These delightful flocks of chattering finches are restless, but obliging; frequently amassing on fences lines with Linnets before taking off in a flurry of wings and drawn-out calls.