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Star species

Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.

Barnacle goose

Large numbers of the Greenland population of barnacle geese arrive at Loch Gruinart in the autumn. You can see them grazing vegetation in the wet areas in densely-packed flocks through the winter.

Barnacle goose - adult

Hen harrier

All but extinct from England, the hen harrier has a strong population on Islay. Watch them hunting over the reserve from our trails and hides. In the spring you may be lucky enough to see their famous sky-dancing displays.

Hen harrier - male


Listen in spring and summer for the repetitive, rasping call of the male corncrake - it sounds rather like a coin being scraped along the teeth of a comb.



Watch the nesting lapwings here chasing predators that may come too close to their nests or show too much of an interest in their chicks. The protective parents regularly give chase to crows and do not stop their 'mobbing' attacks until the danger has passed.


White-fronted goose

Large numbers of white-fronted geese spend winter on the saltmarsh and are generally present between late October and early April. These birds are of the orange-billed Greenland race, which winters mainly in Scotland and Ireland.

White-fronted goose - Greenland race

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 55.82095,-6.35222
  • Postcode: PA44 7PR
  • Grid reference: NR275672
  • Nearest town: Bridgend, Islay
  • County: Argyll and Bute
  • Country: Scotland

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