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  • Julie

Aerial displays of a feathered kind

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

At any time of the year the bird watching here on North Uist is fantastic.


In winter there are overwintering loons, eiders, mergansers and waders to be seen in the bay. Snow buntings regularly visit the machair and are a lovely sight.


In Spring you can watch the displays and courtship of the birds in the bay and on the machair.


In summer the birds have their young to defend and there are swallows and skylarks swooping overhead. The Starlings form murmurations, often in the early evening. The Terns are backwards and forwards to their chicks with sand eels and the Hen Harriers and Buzzards can be seen more often flying over the machair and chasing waders across the bay.


In Autumn and early winter there are immature eagles and buzzards around and the birds of prey seem to be more easily seen around the coast as they spend less time in the higher ground. Later in Autumn the Redwings start to arrive and enjoy feeding on the lawn in the garden.

Courtship displays and breeding season

Some of the best and most spectacular sights must be the aerial displays of the Lapwings both during courtship and when they are defending their young against predators. The sound of the Snipe drumming as they ascend and then plummet in the sky is also very special. The aerial agility of the birds of prey, Lapwings, Crows and Gulls is always worth stopping to watch. At any time of year the Machair seems full of the sounds and activity of the birds that live or breed there, not to mention the rare Great Yellow Bumblebee and the Corncrakes.

The habitat of the machair is rich in wildlife and is fortunately still farmed in a sensitive way. If you love wilderness, beautiful scenery and wildlife then it is well worth experiencing for yourself. Below are a few pictures to whet your appetite.

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